The main technology supplier for the controversial Rejsekort electronic travel card is a weapons manufacturer that has been blacklisted by the World Bank for its involvement in illegal activity.
Ekstra Bladet newspaper reports that Thales Group owns 80 percent of East-West Denmark, the company responsible for delivering the Rejsekort’s operating systems.
The French multi-national, which is one of the world’s leading weapons manufacturers, has been involved in several notable scandals. In 2006 the World Bank’s Integrity Unit blacklisted Thales for its large scale use of bribery across the globe. The move meant Thales was barred from involvement in all World Bank projects and programmes.
The company’s biggest scandal came in 2011 when it, along with the French state, was sentenced to pay a total of €630 million to the Taiwanese government for bribing officials in order to secure contracts to build six frigates. The fine was the biggest handed down in a French corruption case to date.
Development of the Rejsekort has already cost upwards of two billion kroner.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International was critical of the choice of East-West Denmark to deliver the Rejsekort’s operating system.
“Thales has so many skeletons in the closet that we feel that the Danish government should provide an explanation for the ethical concerns surrounding their involvement,” Ole Hoff-Lund, an Amnesty International spokesperson, told Ekstra Bladet.
The transport minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen (Socialdemokraterne), brushed aside concerns over Thales’s involvement.
“As I understand, this is a big multi-national corporation, which is involved in several different projects, and as far as I know it has not been found guilty of anything,” Kristensen told DR.