Rome: Italian defence giant Finmeccanica continued to supply support for communications equipment to the Syrian regime after the unrest began, according to emails released by WikiLeaks and published on Thursday.
   
The contract to supply the Syrian Wireless Organisation with high-tech radios made by Selex Elsag -- a branch of Finmeccanica -- dates to 2008, according to emails published in Italy's Espresso magazine and Spain's Publico.
   
Selex continued supplying engineers and assistance on the radios until recently, the magazines reported, in a USD 49 million deal with the SWO and a Syrian subsidiary of Greek company Intracom-Telecom.
   
The Espresso's revelations, entitled "Finmeccanica helped the dictator," reveals emails from the "Syria files", including one in May 2011 which called for 500 radios, destined for the "Muadamia police warehouse," referring to a restive town close to Damascus.
   
"Did the heads of Selex and Finmeccanica know that their products would end up in the hands of (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad's praetorian guard?" L'Espresso wrote.
   
"At the end of May 2011, Syria asked to increase the size of the contract by 25 percent without providing an explanation," and Selex Elsag replied that it "would be prepared to discuss the matter with the SWO," L'Espresso said.
   
Another email dated February this year discusses the pending arrival in Syria of Selex Elsag employees, who were being sent to provide training on how to use the radios and install the system on helicopters.
   
In its reports, Publico published an email on a deal dating from July 2011.
   
"The really serious matter is that in July 2011, when it was publically known that the Syrian repression was causing dozens of deaths daily, Selex Communications and Intracom Telecom carried on providing maintenance," it said.
   
"All this was part of a deal with Finmeccanica, which is under the control of Rome," it added.

(Agencies)

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