Credit Refused for Argentine Arms

A spokesman for the Credit Suisse in Zurich confirmed today that the bank has turned down an urgent request for some $50 million in credit apparently to finance an Argentine weapons purchase from Israel.

The deal reportedly involved a letter of credit for Israel Aircraft Industries arranged through a Panamanian bank that is believed to have been acting on behalf of Argentina. Credit Suisse was apparently disturbed by the complexities of the transaction, the sum involved and the nature of the deal. Israel Aircraft Industries manufactures the “Dagger” version of the French Mirage jet fighter plane and the “Gabriel” surface-to-surface missile used by the Israeli navy.

Argentina has been using the Israel-made “Dagger” jets against British forces in the Falklands Islands war. The Financial Times of London reported two days ago that British officials were deeply disturbed by an approach to Credit Suisse because it confirmed British fears that Israel continues to be one of the main sources of weapons for the Argentine junta.

The Financial Times reported that the junta has been running into difficulties trying to finance urgently needed arms supplies from Israel. But Argentina was said to have received up to 300 tons of military equipment from Libya in recent days.

Israel has acknowledged selling arms to Argentina. But when the war with Britain over the Falklands broke out, the Israelis insisted that while they would honor past arms sales contracts they would not enter into any new ones.

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