FRANKFURT, Nov 11 (Reuters) - German firearms maker Heckler & Koch said it suspected it was the target of a slur campaign after its offices were searched a second time within a year in connection with the export of weapons to Mexico.
“The volume of claims directed against the company recently create the impression among responsible people at Heckler & Koch of a targeted defamation campaign that is being driven by interested parties,” the company said on Friday.
About 300 police officers searched Heckler & Koch’s headquarters in Oberndorf, Germany, as well as some private residences on Thursday on suspicion of bribery of government officials, according to the Stuttgart prosecutor’s office.
The company is suspected of having bribed officials in Mexico to obtain orders for weapons, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said. German officials may also have been bribed, she said.
The prosecutor’s office already searched the premises of Heckler & Koch last December in connection with the export of rifles to Mexico from 2005 through 2010.
Mexican authorities have been trying to clamp down on the import of guns used in the country’s highly violent drug wars.
“Heckler & Koch never paid bribes in Mexico,” the company said, adding that Mexico had only accounted for an average of about 1 percent of group sales over the past 10 years.
It reported sales of 247 million euros ($336 million) in 2010.
Heckler & Koch produces small arms such as self-loading pistols, grenade launchers, assault rifles and machine guns, and its weapons have featured in blockbuster films such as “Independence Day”, “Die Hard” and “Rush Hour”.