Italian Tax Police Raid Reveals Chinese Hand in Military Drone Maker
Tax resistance and evasion often is linked to intentional fight against transparency in “business” practices.
This played out recently when Italian “tax police” investigated a national security vendor and pulled a thread that went all the way to China.
The alarm was prompted by a raid last year by Italian tax police on Alpi Aviation, a firm in Pordenone in northern Italy which produces the Strix UAV.
Weighing 10kg with a three meter wingspan, the Strix can relay video and infrared imagery in real time and was used by Italy’s special forces in Afghanistan.
Investigators said a 75% share in the firm was purchased in 2018 at an inflated price by a Hong Kong-based company in turn controlled by Chinese state firms, which planned to transfer production to China.
The sale allegedly violated Italy’s “Golden Power” law, under which defense firms, as well as strategic companies, can only be sold outside Italy with specific permission from the government.
The tax police…