Employees of an Israeli drone manufacturer, Aeronautics are facing charges for allegedly demonstrating its weapons targeting skills on Armenian soldiers at the request of potential Azerbaijan customers, various Israeli media outlets said.
"Aeronautics and 10 of its employees were informed that they were set to be charged, pending a hearing," the justice ministry said in a statement released to the Israeli media. Aeronautics chief executive Amos Mathan and other senior employees were suspected of "fraudulently obtaining something under aggravated circumstances" as well as violations of Israel's security export control law, the ministry said.
"The employees were investigated about a deal the company made with a substantive overseas client," the statement read without providing further details, noting a gag order over the affair.
According to media reports, in 2017 representatives of Aeronautics were working on a deal in Azerbaijan, where they were asked by their hosts to demonstrate their Orbiter 1K attack drone’s weapons on Armenian soldiers.
Two Aeronautics employees refused the request before a more senior official in the firm acquiesced, lightly wounding two Armenian soldiers, the media reports said.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are in dispute over the Nagorny Karabakh region, with frequent exchanges of fire along their volatile front line. Karabakh has been under Armenian control since it was seized in the early 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has repeatedly threatened to take it back by force.