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Moldova Shuts Down Bootleg Helicopter Factory

Prosecutors and police in Moldova closed down a clandestine factory that was illegally producing copies of Soviet-type Kamov KA-26 helicopters to sell to ex-Soviet states.

Moldovan officers raid the clandestine helicopter factory in the eastern Criuleni district. Photo: Moldovan Police/Facebook.

The Moldovan Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases and investigators from the Police General Inspectorate closed a clandestine factory in the Criuleni area near the Dniester river in the east of the country on Tuesday that was producing copies of Kamov KA-26 Soviet-type helicopters.

“Over the past several months, the police documented the illegal activity of a well-organised group of people specialising in the production of helicopters,” the Interior Ministry said in a press release.

The secretly-built helicopters were about to be exported illegally to former Soviet countries, it said.

Searches carried out on Tuesday found that there were over ten helicopters on the production line, at various stages of completion.

Most of the people suspected of being involved in the production and assembly process, including the organisers and heads of the illegal operation, are residents of Moldova’s breakaway Transnistrian region.

All the helicopters were produced without the necessary permits and documents of origin for the parts and equipment used.

A criminal case for preparing to smuggle aircraft by two or more persons has been initiated by prosecutors. If found guilty, the suspects could face jail sentences ranging from three to ten years, according to Moldovan law.

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