Maxam, the Spanish explosives and weapons company publicly noted in April by the President of UkraineVolodymyr Zelensky, for his activities in Russia, has declared 27,667.94 euros in donations to the National Rifle Association (NRA, for its acronym in English), the main lobby in favor of arms in the United States.
The figure appears in the documentation that accompanies an issue of promissory notes that the company has just registered in the Spanish Alternative Fixed Income Market (BMERF). In this documentation, the company, which in the year ended in 2021 narrowly abandoned losses, refers for the first time to the War in Ukraine to underline that it complies "scrupulously" with the sanctions regime imposed as a result of the war.
That donation to the US gun lobby consists of a "contribution to sports actions" for "1,800 young people" made by its subsidiary of sports ammunition for hunting and shooting, Maxam Outdoors, for "camps, tournaments and other activities" of the NRA Ring of Freedom in the town of Shreveport, in the State of Louisiana.
NRA Ring of Freedom is, according to explains on his website, “the National Rifle Association's premier donor recognition program. Freedom-loving individuals, families or businesses that make donations totaling $1,000 or more per year to the NRA or any of its entities are recognized as donors through the NRA Ring of Freedom program. Donations of $25,000 or more qualify for lifetime NRA Ring of Freedom recognition and can be achieved through cumulative giving.”
“Your generous gift can help support the wide range of programs and services associated with shooting sports, or it can go towards political advocacy, media outreach, training and development of America's next generation or others. programs”, indicates on its website the NRA Ring of Freedom, .
The NRA is the most powerful gun lobby in the US. Last year this organization spent almost five million dollars (4.6 million euros) to reinforce the rights around the possession of firearms and avoid restrictions on who can have them and how they can use them.
Maxam's donation is included in the Non-Financial Information Statement for the fiscal year ending in March 2020. It is the largest contribution of that year abroad for what the company calls "Maxam's social action in the world", which amounts to in about 246,000 euros in that year. In the 2021 accounts, which the group has just sent to the BMERF, this information is not detailed.
The donation to the NRA is collected along with others from that same subsidiary as a "Sponsorship of shooting sports to Boy Scouts" for an amount of 2,169.75 euros, and another 9,071.46 euros for sports shooting clubs located in the same town of Louisiana, whose city council announced in 2021 an ordinance to limit the possession of firearms to which publicly opposed the NRA.
There are also donations for the Navy League, an organization that supports the US military, and, in Spain, contributions for several hunting federations, 17,000 euros for the Air Museum, 15,000 euros for the Army Museum Foundation in cultural sponsorships , 3,500 euros for The Legacy, dedicated to promoting the Spanish legacy in the US, or 5,000 euros for a military-civil career of the Spanish Legion in Andalusia.
"Through its own initiatives or collaborations with social and academic entities, the Maxam Foundation contributes to promoting social, cultural and educational development in the countries in which it operates," the document states. Asked if donations to the NRA continued last year, a spokesman for the group refers to the information published by the company, whose website has been out of service since Zelensky's intervention in Congress. "Soon" will be operational again. “We are still undergoing maintenance,” he assures.
The company, which since the allusion of the Ukrainian president in Congress has not wanted to make public statements, refers for the first time to the war in Ukraine in that document sent to the BMERF, dated June 10.
In it, he indicates that, after the “military offensive to invade Ukraine”, the EU, the United Kingdom or the USA “have adopted a series of sanctions packages and other measures in order to restrict trade relations with Russia. For its part, Russia has also established another series of sanctions against Western countries, including Spain.
"Maxam has been scrupulously complying with the current sanctions regime," the document indicates, adding that "there is great uncertainty about the duration of the conflict and the magnitude of the effects of the sanctions."
After a preliminary evaluation, its administrators have determined that “at the time of preparing the annual accounts for the year ended March 31, 2022, its effects are not significant”.
The accounts for the year closed in March 2021, which the group has also just sent to the BMERF, show that it abandoned losses, posting a profit of around 2 million euros, compared to 135 million red numbers a year earlier, when it carried out an employment regulation file (ERE) and a corporate restructuring.
The operating result was 158 million and sales grew by 24%, to 1,014 million. Its civilian explosives division contributed 75%, the weapons division another 7.5% and Maxam Outdoors (the sports shooting subsidiary) another 7.59%. By geographical areas, the EU accounted for 32%, Africa 23% and Latin America 11%. The countries of the former Soviet Union (including Russia) contributed 10%, and North America 8%.
The consolidated accounts mention the Treasury inspection opened in Spain shortly before the end of the 2021 financial year, although it does not specify the provisions it has set aside to cover itself against this risk. One of its subsidiaries has estimated them at around 12 million.
Maxam was founded a century and a half ago as the Spanish Gunpowder Society by the Swedish Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite. With factories on five continents and some 100 companies, its workforce is more than 5,100 employees and it sells in more than 100 countries. The former Spanish Union of Explosives (Explosivos Rio Tinto was another of its names) adopted its current name in 2006. Its president is José Manuel Vargas, former executive of Vocento, former president of Aena and responsible for the partial privatization of the airport operator during the government of Mariano Rajoy.
Maxam's defense leg is brought together by Expal Systems SA, former Explosivos Alaveses, shelter of several former high officials from the Ministry of Defense or the National Intelligence Center and one of the Vox gurus. Several administrators of the group and the great person responsible for its expansion in recent decades have a direct line with Juan Carlos I.
Maxam is controlled by US investment firm Rhône Capital, founded by US billionaire Robert Agostinelli, who is considered to be very well connected to former Spanish President José María Aznar.
On April 5, the Ukrainian president pointed out to this company, together with Porcelanosa and the employers of the Spanish capital goods industry, that unlike Maxam, they quickly disassociated themselves from Russia and denied any relationship with that country after the war. in Ukraine.
Then, the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, defended the explosives company, assuring that it has a Russian subsidiary that produces fertilizers, but without "any type of commercial and financial exchange" with its parent company. Sources from the group denied at that time and now that their activity in Russia is intervened under the regime of Vladimir Putin, as some media published after the words of the Ukrainian leader.
Rhône, which in the year ended March 2021 increased its weight in Maxam to about 75% (the rest belongs to a group of technicians, managers and associated co-investors), bought the package that the US fund Advent acquired in 2011 from the Spanish venture capital firms Vista Capital (Banco Santander's private equity) and Portobello (formerly Ibersuizas). Advent came to explore the group's IPO. The operation was cut short for the Defex scandalthe semi-public company dedicated to the export of weapons of which Maxam was the main private shareholder, with about 22%, along with others such as Instalaza (which had 10.89%), to which the former Minister of Defense was linked Peter Morenes.
Defex has been in the process of liquidation since 2017 after a very serious corruption scandal and millionaire commissions. The bulk of the case is still pending court ruling. In this semi-public company, the honorary president of Maxam and architect of its expansion, José Fernando Sánchez-Junco, brother of the lawyer of the emeritus in his tax scandals, Javier Sánchez-Junco, and still president of the foundation that channels his "action Social".