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AOAV: all our reportsWho is arming Israel?

Who is arming Israel? Individual Arms Executive Wealth Generation

AOAV’s report ‘Who is arming Israel?‘ is an in-depth analysis of the arms sold or provided to Israel by the UK, US, and other nations, focusing on the continuation and expansion of arms exports despite allegations of war crimes by the Israeli armed forces, highlighting the lack of transparency and the profits made in arms exports.

This report has identified 17 executives of some of the world’s leading arms manufacturers, companies reported to be selling weapons to Israel, that have recently benefited from substantial share sales post October 7th, 2023.

The examples provided below, in addition to the complete list (see annexes 2a and 2b), suggest that executives of the world’s leading arms manufacturers sold a significant amount of personal shares during Q1 of 2024 and Q4 of 2023 following the 7th October 2023. Whilst there is nothing illegal in such sales, it raises ethical questions regarding those who profit from arms sales, given the deaths in the region.

Examples of Individual Wealth Generation

  • On March 8, 2024, Charles Woodburn, the CEO of BAE Systems, executed a sale of 331,716 shares. The sale’s value on the day of the transaction was £4,163,035.80, significantly higher than the £3,252,807.10 it would have been valued at on October 6, 2023. As a result, Woodburn’s earnings were £910,228.70 more than if the shares had been sold in early October 2023. 
  • Mark C Roualet, EVP of General Dynamics, sold 73,330 shares on January 26, 2024. The value of this transaction was $19,414,117, compared to $16,128,200.20 on October 6, 2023, resulting in a gain of $3,285,917 had the shares been sold earlier. 
  • Phebe N Novakovic, CEO of General Dynamics, completed the sale of 32,355 shares on January 29, 2024. The shares sold for a total of $8,551,750, exceeding their October 6, 2023, value of $7,116,159, and netting Novakovic an additional $1,435,591. 
  • Armin T. Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, sold 10,350 shares on March 19, 2024. The transaction amount on that day was €4,906,493, nearly double the €2,486,663 value on October 6, 2023. This resulted in Papperger earning €2,419,830 more than if the sale had occurred before October 2023. 
  • Christopher E Kubasik, CEO of L3Harris Technologies, sold 40,000 shares on March 25, 2024. The sale was valued at $8,488,800, compared to a potential value of $6,555,600 on October 6, 2023. This meant an increase of $1,933,200 in Kubasik’s earnings from the sale.

Broader Trends

  • Raytheon RTX witnessed a significantly high value of executive sales of personal shares during Q1 of 2024. Q1 of 2024 saw $3.45 million worth of sales made by executives, compared to just $357k for the whole of 2023.
  • Lockheed Martin saw a surge in the value of executive sales of personal shares in Q1 of 2024. Q1 of 2024 saw $7.25 million sales made by executives compared to $2.38 million for the whole of 2023.
  • BAE Systems also witnessed a significantly higher value of executive sales of personal shares during Q1 of 2024, as a result of CEO Charles Woodburn’s sale. Q1 of 2024 saw a value of £4.16 million shares sold compared to just £217k for the whole of 2023.
  • General Dynamics saw its highest value of executive share sales in one financial quarter in Q1 of 2024 since the beginning of 2021, with $28 million worth of shares sold by executives, more than the whole of 2023 combined.
  • L3Harris Technologies witnessed around $10 million worth of shares sold by insiders, compared to $3,631,000 for the whole of 2023.

To be clear, nothing illegal is being claimed by AOAV or any of its employees to have been done in these insider share sales (which is also not a claim of insider share trading). It is reported to alert the eye to the profits made by individuals in the face of global events. AOAV approached the companies listed above for comment, and from its senior executives named, but no right to reply was given at the time of writing.

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For other parts of the report ‘Who is Arming Israel?‘ please see: