Italy investigates illicit drone company sale to China

Italian justice officials are investigating an aviation and defense company for an allegedly illegal scheme to secretly transfer ownership and production to China. In addition to other aircraft, the Venice-area business makes military-grade drones that Italian forces have used in NATO operations.

Authorities investigate military drone maker’s suspected secret sale to China

An Italian police unit enforcing tax and other financial laws aired their accusations late last week after a prolonged investigation into the company’s ownership structure. Media reports identify their target as Api Aviation, which produces the military surveillance and intelligence-gathering Strix-DF drone for Italy’s Ministry of Defense, and now thought to be the property of China. The company is said to be subject to the country’s “golden power” law requiring companies in strategic sectors like defense, energy, and telecoms to obtain government approval of sales to foreign…