(Adds details, comments from Taurus)
SAO PAULO, Sept 29 Brazil is reviewing its
procedures for controlling arms exports, Defense Minister Raul
Jungmann said on Thursday, when asked about an investigation
into a sale of guns by Forjas Taurus SA that
allegedly violated U.N. sanctions.
"We are updating the regulations in this area, seeking
objectivity and transparency. They need updating," the minister
said. Jungmann said the review was part of a "periodic" update
of arms export regulations.
Taurus, the largest weapons manufacturer in Latin America,
confirmed a Reuters report this month of charges against two
former executives who prosecutors allege sold weapons in 2013 to
a Yemeni arms trafficker who was on a U.N. sanctions list.
Prosecutors said Fares Mohammed Hassan Mana'a, who was
placed under U.N. sanctions in 2010 for violating an arms
embargo in Somalia, then redirected the weapons into his
country's civil war.
In an emailed statement on Thursday, Taurus - which does not
face any charges in the case - said the review on arms imports
and exports was part of an ongoing discussion on changes to
legislation on the purchase of Brazilian firearms that had been
taking place for months.
Brazilian prosecutors charged the two former Taurus
executives in May with shipping 8,000 handguns to Mana'a. The
U.N. sanctions banned any weapons sales or financing for the
trafficker, and ordered an asset freeze and travel ban on him.
U.S. President Barack Obama also named Mana'a and 10 others
in a 2010 executive order banning business with individuals and
groups accused of contributing to unrest in Somalia.
Taurus said in the statement that the arms were destined for
the government of Djibouti and had all the necessary licenses,
and Mana'a had acted as an intermediary. It said that it halted
another shipment negotiated with Mana'a after learning about
suspicions surrounding the Yemeni arms dealer.
A lawyer for the two former Taurus export executives charged
by prosecutors has said the accusations "do not reflect the
facts of the matter."
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Leslie Adler and