28 Sep 2017

NZer named in illicit arms sales report

1:52 pm on 28 September 2017

A New Zealander has been named in an Amnesty International report as having links to a company it says is involved in illicit arms sales to South Sudan.

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Photo: 123 RF

The report points to British-registered company S-Profit Ltd as an apparent supplier in a 2014 deal to provide up to $US46 million of Ukrainian small arms and ammunition to South Sudan.

It would be one of the largest single arms deals the South Sudan government has entered into since the outbreak of fighting there in December 2013, it says.

It would also represent a violation of British export controls that prohibit involvement in the sale of weapons to South Sudan.

The Amnesty report names New Zealander Ian Taylor as S-Profit's sole shareholder when it was registered in the UK in 2011.

It describes him as a "company formation agent who has been involved for over a decade in setting up 'shell companies' on behalf of others in numerous jurisdictions".

Mr Taylor has told Amnesty he had no knowledge of S-Profit other than that he had been, at some point, listed as a director of the company in the UK.

He also said he had never registered any UK companies, but was aware some media have made an assumption he was providing this service.

RNZ has attempted to contact Mr Taylor for comment.

It is not the first time Mr Taylor has been named in connection to a company apparently linked to illegal arms sales.

In 2010, a shell company he was involved with leased an aircraft that was intercepted by Thai police on its way from North Korea to Iran, with 35 tonnes of weapons on board.

He denied any involvement in illegal activities.

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