Thursday, July 18, 2024

Who is really behind the French defence company Manurhin ?

Manurhin is a French defence company in the arms industry. Manurhin is specialized today in the design, development, manufacturing and installation of ammunition production equipment; from single machines to complete lines, delivered as turnkey.

MANURHIN controls 3 subsidiaries specialized in production and supply of technologies for ammunition manufacturing:

  1. MR EQUIPEMENT (Mulhouse – France)  It represents the main part of the group´s turnover and employs 90 employees.
  2. MANUBALTAS (Vilnius – Lithuania) – service activities and technical assistance.
  3. MRE Benelux (Liège – Belgium) – production of special machines for ammunition manufacturing.

The MANURHIN group is led by MNR GROUP SA (Mulhouse – France). Its shareholders are both private as well as state representatives of military industry, together with institutional and private financial investors.


The following companies have been major shareholders of MNR GROUP:

Organization - Manurhin
Organization – Manurhin

GIAT Industries (NEXTER Group) 22.7%
Nowadays known as NEXTER Group, is a French government-owned manufacturer of military machinery.

A French government-owned investment fund which is dedicated to support projects in military industry.

A Slovak private company engaged in military production and trade with military equipment.

The presence of French state investors – GIAT Industries (NEXTER Group) and SOFIRED in shareholder structure expresses France´s strong interest in further development of MANURHIN.  But DELTA DEFENCE …

According to, the DELTA DEFENCE, a.s. provides repair services for military equipment in Slovakia. It offers services for heavy combat trucks, light tracked vehicles, wheeled armoured vehicles, heavy and medium trucks, and off-road vehicles.

*Photo from the official site of the company

Delta Defence is the owner of the plant, operated with military orders for the Warsaw Pact Armies in the midst of the cold war. Along with the sponsors of SMER Party, the Prime Minister Robert Fico this Company is figuring in a cloudy mess relating to fiasco of the first “mega-tender” along Slovakia cooperation with NATO in the military-industrial establishment– production of “Skype in armor” – mobile communications systems MOKYS, burdened for the State 7.5 billion Koruna (or 232 million Euros).

Having such “merits”, Delta Defence has contrived to become one of the three co-owners of Manurhin along with NEXTER and SOFIRED, leaders of the French defence industry. Slavomír Habánik is the member of the Executive Council. He, since August 2014,istheactualChief Executive Officer (by power of attorney) of NOVIS. S&B Enhanced Finance Company within the framework of the raider scheme, connected to the Weisses, had signed the option contract with the United Capital. As journalist Ján Kováč writes in TREND, British investor not only had lost shares, but also had not received money for them from S&B.

As the Slovakian blogger Igor Novosad mentioned, the Weiss’ family is involved in non-abating scandal connected with raider takeover of a share of London United Capital PLC (40%) at stock capital of the Insurance Company NOVIS Poisťovňa in August 2014.

“Associated “family”” of the Weisses represented by the veterans of the military counterintelligence agency VOS can’t save them from a close attention of Interpol, Europol, Euro just and other inter-governmental bodies. Moreover, the European Commission and the US Department of the Treasury is keeping on collection of information within the framework of the “sanctions maintenance”, “Kommersant” says.

They figuring out loop-holes, through which the Russian companies try to avoid sectoral sanctions in the military-industrial establishment, and Pavol Weiss is known as the
Delta Defence Company owner and the Supervisory Board Member of the French Manurhin
(MNR Group SA), manufacturer of Walther PPK guns (James Bond’s favourite weapon).

Pavol Weiss ”had got into” the said mess owing to his son Ivan (Ivan Weiss), in times past the top-manager of Slovensky plynarensky priemysel (SPP) and Slovrusgas. Apart from SPP he was the Director at T-Invest. He had invented the scheme according to which Leven Company resold Russian gas from SPP. Some of gas for Levice City in so going took operator of Fortuna, and T-Invest from the latter. As Slovakian mass media informed, by 2012 Leven owed to SPP 33 million EUROS, but neither the Agency struggling against criminal activity groups, nor office of public prosecutor gave a chance to get ahead submitted by SPP.

Weiss had managed to display himself also in the role of public politician. In 2010 he assisted VOS veterans in unsuccessful revival of the Communist Party’s successors – left-wing democrats from SDL Party (Strana demokratickej ľavice). At early election of 2012 he boosted the image of the Party “99% – civil vote” (99% – občianskyhlas), having PR with a slogan … struggle against corruption.

Scheme on so called “privatization” of NOVIS was developed by not Ivan Weiss, but either Slobodan Ristic, or Bobo Ristic, managing partner of the Consulting Company EPIC (European Privatization Investment Corporation) from Austria. And though Deborah Sturman is figuring in the cloudy mess, lawyer from the USA, they have not succeeded in concealing “the Russian traces”.

He also advised the Bulgarian businessman Tsvetan Vasilev (Tzvetan Vassilev), chief of the Corporate Mercantile Bank . Owner of 10% shares of the CMB was VTB Capital. Following bankruptcy of the CMB (summer of 2014) Vasilev emigrated to Belgrade, and bank crisis broke out, triggered off the early elections to the Popular Assembly.

Russian “garters” of Ivan Weiss are stretching to the top-managers of “Gazprom”. As Igor Novosad notes, under Aleksei Miller Rem Vyakhirev’s team was excluded not only from Gazprom, but also from Slovrusgas. In 2002 Aleksandr Medvedev and Yelena Vasilyeva, Miller’s deputies at the Board of Administration of Gazprom, have become the Board Members of the Joint-Stock Company besides Ivan Weiss.

Aleksandr Medvedev is also the minority shareholder of VTB. At the Soviet times he was the Director the Donau Bank AG (since 2006 VTB Bank (Austria) AG) and affiliate of the Sovzagranbank (Soviet Foreign Bank) – InterTrade Consult GmbH. In 2006-2014 he was the President of the Continental Hockey League (CHL), where HC Slovan, Bratislava) is playing. In April 2009 he had become the only Russian at TOP-100 of the most influential people of the world (Time magazine version).

Yelena Vasilyeva (in 2010 and 2011: 12-th and 13-thin the list of 50 the most influential businesswomen of the Russian Federation (Finance magazine version) is working as the Chief Accountant of Gazprol since 2001. Previously she was working at the Open Joint-Stock Company “Morskoi Port (Sea Port) Saint-Petersburg” under the command of Aleksei Miller and Aleksandr Dyuzhev (now Chief of Gazprom Neft Company, President of the FC “Zenit”).

It is doubtful whether Ivan Weiss was able to be engaged in swindles with Russian gas without sharing in so doing with Moscow partners, allowed SPP “to make a present” to T-Invest and other persons involved schemas with gas supply of Levice and 33 million Euros.

Slovakian shareholder Delta Defence probably now controls French defence company… or actively influences. But the question remains open.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more



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