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Finmeccanica Says Radios to Syria Ended as Revolt Began

Finmeccanica SpA said the supply of its Tetra radio equipment to the Syrian regime was for non-military use, didn’t violate any existing sanctions and ended with the outbreak of civil unrest in the country.

Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks today published on its website correspondence that showed Selex Elsag, a division of Finmeccanica, delivered 500 radio sets to Syrian police in May 2011 in the Damascus suburb of Muadamia. Protests began in Syria in March 2011.

L’Espresso, the Italian news magazine that first reported the leaked documents, said Finmeccanica entered into a 2008 contract for 40 million euros ($49.6 million) to sell the radio equipment to the Syrian authorities.

Finmeccanica responded to the report in an e-mailed statement. The Rome-based company, which said it’s still owed “some millions of euros” by the Syrian regime, said the equipment was strictly for civilian use.

“Once the unrest began in Syria, and following the stances taken by the international community, no further supply was authorized and therefore executed,” according to the statement.

Wikileaks today published on its website the first tranche of what it said will be the release of about 2.5 million documents from “Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies” covering August 2006 to March 2012.

“This extraordinary data set derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture,” the group said on its website.

Syria’s government led by President Bashar al-Assad is fighting a growing insurrection in which more than 10,000 people have died, according to United Nations estimates.

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