BREAKING: Taurus Executives Charged with Knowingly Selling Arms to Yemeni Arms Traffickers

Brazil’s premier small arms manufacturer is in hot water: Two former executives of Forjas Taurus SA have been served with charges of arms trafficking by the Brazilian government. The executives, Eduardo Pezzuol and Leonardo Sperry, allegedly negotiated deals to ship 8,000 handguns to Fares Mohammed Hassan Mana’a, a Yemeni arms trafficker active in Africa. Reuters reports:

Brazil’s Forjas Taurus SA, the largest weapons manufacturer in Latin America, sold guns to a known Yemeni arms trafficker who funneled them into his nation’s civil war in violation of international sanctions, according to charges in court documents reviewed by Reuters.

Federal prosecutors in southern Brazil charged two former executives of Forjas Taurus (FJTA4.SA) in May with shipping 8,000 handguns in 2013 to Fares Mohammed Hassan Mana’a, an arms smuggler active around the Horn of Africa for over a decade according to the United Nations.

The handguns were allegedly shipped by Taurus to Djibouti and redirected to Yemen by Mana’a, according to court documents.

Alexandre Wunderlich, a lawyer for the two former Taurus export executives, Eduardo Pezzuol and Leonardo Sperry, said the accusations in the sealed indictment “do not reflect the facts of the matter.”

Yemen has been consumed since early last year by a brutal civil war killing thousands of people as Iran-backed Houthi rebels challenge a Saudi-allied government.

Mana’a, who served from 2011 to 2014 as governor of Sa’dah, a Houthi stronghold, could not be reached for comment.

A Brazilian court issued a public summons for Mana’a in May as part of a case citing him, Sperry and Pezzuol as defendants.

Taurus declined to answer detailed questions on the weapons case due to legal confidentiality but said it was “helping the courts to clarify the facts.”

Following the Reuters report, the company confirmed in a securities filing on Monday that two of its former executives had been charged for an alleged 2013 arms shipment destined for Yemen.

After learning about suspicions surrounding the Yemeni arms dealer, Taurus said it halted another shipment he negotiated.

The two executives left Taurus in the latter part of 2015, after the Brazilian government discovered negotiations to ship a further 11,000 guns to Mana’a, and raided the company’s headquarters. The government reports that emails they found their confirm that Eduardo Pezzuol and Leonardo Sperry knew of UN sanctions against dealing with Mana’a, but worked to find ways around them.

Taurus is a manufacture that has been beset by recalls and controversy over the past few years, yet it remains one of the biggest manufacturers not only in Brazil, but in the United States and the world as well. In 2013, the São Paulo State Military Police recalled nearly 100,000 24/7 DS pistols because of an issue with accidental firing, which bled over into a class action lawsuit on multiple models which was settled for $39 million. Following that, the innovative Curve handgun was recalled on release because the barrels were not marked with the caliber as per US regulations.

Thanks to Daniel for the tip!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Paulo Marcondes

    Yet, not a single note about it in Brazilian press.

    • Maria Silveira

      They know how to hide things In Bra$$$$il … ?

  • Giolli Joker

    I guess that part of the recalled pistols found a new home…
    It could be considered as a Trojan horse rather than arms sale.

    • Just say’n

      My thoughts exactly. Must have sold them to the losing side.

  • Don Ward

    A lot of people talk. But it’s good to see Taurus actually walking the walk; materially aiding our valiant Saudi allies by selling Taurus firearms to the Yemenis which are stomping the House of Saud’s head in to the sand.

    • AK

      They’re probably using the recalled pistols akin to the famous Liberator pistols of WW2 fame…hehehe.

  • Joseph Goins

    Didn’t the Obama administration do the same thing in Mexico a few years ago?

    • Swarf


      • Anonymoose

        I think he’s talking about Fast & Furious. You know, the ATF operation where they allowed guns to walk to Mexican cartels so they could use it as justification to legislate strict gun control in the US?

        • Black Dots

          I think I know what happened:

    • Ian Snell

      USA is number one arms exporter of the world.

      • Jim_Macklin

        Most of that is open records and approved by Congress to arm alies, with fighter planes and rockets, small arms is a small part of the total dollar amount. Measured by dollars the US is a big, biggest arms exporter.
        But then the welfare state has reduced the purchasing power of the dollar 95% in the past 60 years.

  • James Truth

    If they are having this kind of trouble with the recalls, then that lifetime warranty doesnt seem like such a bad idea after all.

  • AHill

    CIA SAD guys should be giving these two a medal and recruiting them to sell more Taurus firearms to the enemies of US foreign policy!

    • Anonymoose

      In a lot of cases, US foreign policy is just plain wrong, so they’re cool with me (until the Yemenis bite us in the ass).

      • James Young

        Technically the Yemenis have been doing that for years. It’s been a terrorist training ground that has resulted in countless dead Americans. No side is good, the US just picks the one that’s best for the US.

        • Anonymoose

          Same with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the UAE, Croatia, Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia, but we consider them “allies.”

          • john huscio

            Croatia? Someone still bearing grudges from WW2?

          • Anonymoose

            Some people are still bearing grudges from the Great Schism…

          • James Young

            Yep, countries like people don’t always get to choose who they work with. National Interest is a country first priority.

          • Anonymoose

            >national interest
            I prefer to look at it this way: today’s allies are the guys we’re setting up to be tomorrow’s enemies. It’s all about keeping the blood money flowing and distracting the plebs.

  • borekfk

    You think they’d be given a medal for actually getting people to buy Tarus guns in bulk.

  • Gus Butts

    I didn’t think Taurus needed sales this badly.

  • RSG

    These will be the most under-armed rebels in Africa’s history. I can imagine instead of fighting, these guys spending all their time on the phone with Taurus’ customer service ??

    • roguetechie

      Except of course that they’re beating the Saudis like a red headed step child…

      I mean beating them bad.

      And I think that quite a few of us are quietly enjoying watching them take apart the Saudis only the best cowards money can buy army….

      Something about 15 passports… You know no big deal really, except, wait… Yeah it is!

      Hopefully Taurus hides it better next time.

      • RSG

        Regardless, the Saudi’s are clearly the lesser of two evils here. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn (and by learn I mean public confirmation) that there are American veterans there alongside of them. Politics and greed aside, I’m wishing them the best.

        • roguetechie

          Are they?

          ISIS 9/11 and a bunch more says that this is a mistaken view. FWIW in the whole war with ISIS thing, the Saudis being major players in the existence of ISIS isn’t even a fact that can really be questioned, the American veteran volunteers are overwhelmingly fighting alongside the various groups fighting Saudi enabled ISIS like the Kurds (see the Pokémon on a pkm pic circulating awhile back taken by an American volunteer working with the Kurds fighting ISIS)

          Point being, no Saudi Arabia definitely is not the lesser of two evils seeing as much of the Islamic terror network, recruiting and indoctrination efforts, and financing is Saudi Arabia and it’s erstwhile allies’ doings.

        • john huscio

          American vets fighting alongside Saudis? LOL.

  • Vitsaus

    If you want to save lives, arm both sides with Taurus guns.

  • 440

    How odd my PT99 shoots flawless.

    • Reef Blastbody

      That’s the dichotomy: Taurus makes some pretty good Beretta 92 based clones, seeing as how Beretta sold them the rights to the design, the factory, the engineering notes, tooling, and most of the Beretta workers stayed on after the sale. Beretta had built the factory to supply a contract to the Brazilian government, and had no need for it after the contract expired, hence the sale to Taurus.

      Taurus, IMO, fixed one of the gripes I have with the Beretta: the slide mounted safety/decock lever. I prefer frame mounted. They also showed some very clever design work in the PT-101P, making a 16+1 round .40S&W version whose magazines fit flush. They discontinued it years ago, but they’re pretty decent guns.

      Their own, in-house designed striker pistols, on the other hand, not so much.

    • Laserbait

      Is that with using the trigger, or without? 😀

  • James Young

    If this isn’t politically influenced (I know that’s a big if) then this was two sales guys who worked in export sales that thought they could make a big commission and didnt bother with the potential…uh…shady buyer?

  • The Punisher

    Another case of: “It’s only illegal if you’re not a government entity” I see…