Thales’ communications team is responding along two lines. First, they formed S3NS—a new venture in partnership with Google—that provides cloud computing services and sensitive data storage to the French government. The second involves a new line of drones that will be used to monitor certain safety issues.
The series of press releases was aimed at countering the negative PR impact of the two scandals, which has done considerable damage to the image of the company and France itself. After all, the French government remains Thales’ largest shareholder (25.67%). Another 24.62% belongs to Dassault Aviation, which is not only part of the Dassault family (which we’ll get to later) but also Airbus SE Airbus is lobbying heavily against any further Russian sanctions. Dassault’s connection is fairly simple: Dassault Aviation has built French fighter jets for decades and was founded by Marcel Dassault, a two-term French senator who directly influences national defense policy. It’s no wonder that any negative PR reflects the poor performance of the old European elite, making them rather uncomfortable while being caught fat by Putin’s blood money.
Thales is a large diversified business with a dozen subsidiaries. We’ll focus on just a few of them: Thales E-Security, Sofradir, and Lynred.
Scandal First – Military Scandal
After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Butcha, near Kyiv, in March 2022, their tanks appeared to be fitted with Catherine heat shields – one of Thales’ flagship products.According to the company’s website, the devices make it can participate Enemies at greater distances, providing a “pre-emptive” advantage.
Ukrainian volunteer Pavlo Kashchuk discovered a modern Thales face shield mounted on a Russian APC near Kyiv. The vehicles in question were upgraded in 2016 — well after the EU imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 that barred the export of dual-use technology to Moscow.
“The most interesting point is the fire control system, which allows accurate fire in any weather conditions and any time of day,” Say Kashchuk.
“The components and technology of the system have been transferred to Russia by the French company Thales. Catherine FC – a completely non-Russian (product) designation – thermal goggles allow the enemy to spot their victims several kilometers away. It is alleged that it is Assembled under a (French) license in a Russian factory in Vologda – following French blueprints and using French components. This is just one of the plans by which Western companies can circumvent existing embargoes and supply Russia with cutting-edge military technology. Naturally, Their government turned a blind eye to it and was complicit.”
Kashchuk’s YouTube channel has another video, a modern Russian thermal visor made sometime after 2019 is shown to contain components made by other French companies (Ulis and Safran). As it turns out, Thales subsidiary Sofradir merged with Ulis in 2019 to form Lynred. Lynred, in turn, is owned by Thales (50%) and Safran (50%).
Once it all became public, French and international investigators began investigating Thales.
Disclosure – a nonprofit investigative journalism organization – finds France Since 2015, 76 export licenses have been issued for military and dual-use products. These include heat shields and avionics valued at 152 million euros ($158 million). That figure, confirmed by the European Bureau of Investigation, puts France in an embarrassing position, which is responsible for 44 percent of European arms exports to Russia – which are now also used against Ukraine. According to reports, France has provided heat shields for more than 1,000 Russian tanks, as well as navigation systems and infrared sensors for Russian fighter jets and helicopters.
As for Sifradir, it has been determined that although it remains Subsidiary In 2016 alone, it supplied Russian companies Linkos and GIPO with 83 S24 infrared sensors, 258 S02 infrared detectors and 138 S10 infrared sensors. GIPO is the Russian state-owned Institute of Applied Optics,
None of this will matter until February 2022. These are just the efforts of the French government and elites to bypass sanctions to make some cash. Not to mention that, legally speaking, there is hardly any wrongdoing by the French. While Council Regulation (EU) No. 833/2014 prohibits the export of dual-use products to Russia, it stipulates that governments grant export licenses to fulfill existing contractual obligations. To exploit this loophole, Thales kept extending old contracts with Russia, which allowed the cargo to continue.
We are convinced that this is only the tip of the iceberg of military relations between France and Russia.But it’s enough to explain why the French president Emmanuel Macron Has been calling Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and begging others to help Putin “save face”. As it turns out, it could also save France — or at least its defense sector — face.
While maybe we can take it easy on France for supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons, we can’t take Thales lightly.Polish EMPs are again at the forefront, they started asking in March why French companies were breaking with the EU sanction So brazen.
Scandal Number Two – Banking Scandal
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Private Bank (1997-2016), Banking and Finance Specialist
Last week, Thales finally announced it was cutting ties with Russia. it becomes possible With the joint efforts of Ukrainian volunteers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Volunteers gathered the necessary evidence while our diplomats brought the issue to international attention.
Notably, the news came on the same day Macron visited Kyiv, where he promised France’s unequivocal support for Ukraine.
But Thales, nonetheless, found a way to screw it all up.
A recently leaked internal report from Russia’s Alpha Bank claimed that the Russian banking industry was heading for disaster after Thales E-Security shut down its Russian operations. It turns out that the security of credit cards belonging to 100 million customers could be at risk.
An investigation by Le Parisien likewise claimed that Russian banks were concerned about Thales exiting the market: Thales solutions PayShield 9000 and PayShield 10K HSM were apparently essential for transactions via cards issued by Alfa-Bank, Sberbank and VTB.
The announcement was ultimately little more than hot air. Thales was quick to assure Russian customers that their banking security products would continue to function as normal. It seems that leaving Russia will not happen after all.
This is the exact message to the Bank of Russia: “Political manipulation cannot and should not affect the level, quality, stability and effectiveness of our products and services, including in the Russian market. We will continue to ensure the full operational capability of our hardware products.” Severing ties somehow turned into “political manipulation”.
Ukrainian blogger and activist Anton Shvets summed it up this way:
“If Thales shuts everything down immediately, the Russian banking sector will collapse. The functioning Russian banks show that the (Thales) group will continue to work for them. 80% of Russian banks use their services, 100% in occupied used on Ukrainian territory.”
What’s next? Evidence has emerged since February 24 that European sanctions against Russia have been ineffective. Without actual execution, they are entirely symbolic. Experts agree that in order to isolate Russia and weaken its economic ties with the rest of the world, sanctions violations should be made public and those responsible held legally accountable. First, evidence that companies evade sanctions must be gathered. With Thales, it all started when photos of captured Russian APCs started circulating on social media. Once made public, the information could allow lawyers to begin a thorough investigation of the company. It is also important that all findings are passed on to the relevant EU bureaucracy and law enforcement. Depending on the jurisdiction, a violation of sanctions can even be considered a criminal offense.
Ukraine currently has unprecedented global support in defending against Russian aggression. Together with various national institutions, our lawyers have a unique opportunity to finally bring to justice all those who dare to defy European sanctions and isolate the aggressor.