The president of an aerospace company based in P.E.I. is helping the Russian government with an investigation into what may have been illegal work on military equipment.
MDS-PRAD, based in Slemon Park just outside of Summerside, is a company that specializes in applying a special protective coating to aircraft parts. Customers ship their parts to the company, which are coated and then returned. Russian authorities claim parts from MDS-PRAD ended up being worked on in Russia, for helicopters that were used by the U.S. military.
Foreign governments don't have any powers beyond their borders to talk to witnesses, or search for documents, so they rely on local authorities for help. This type of co-operation between countries is not uncommon. A Canadian justice official told CBC News this week he handles several a year for the Atlantic region, but this is the first time he's had a case on P.E.I.
MDS-PRAD's technology was adapted from a company in Russia, and much of its work was previously done overseas. It does the work on P.E.I. now, but nearly a decade ago MDS-PRAD sent a few parts to the Russian company Ural Factory of Civil Aviation to be treated with this special coating.
CEO fled, say Russian authorities
It's that company, and its CEO Anatoly Paderov, that are under investigation. Russian authorities say Paderov has fled their country.
They suspect the work his company did on parts from P.E.I., ended up on fighting helicopters for the U.S. navy. That's not allowed without special permission from the Russian government. They call it "contraband of military techniques." It's not clear whether those parts came back to P.E.I. at any point.
MDS-PRAD president Phil Rodger was interviewed by justice officials in Charlottetown Thursday about what he knows about the work the Russian company did and what involvement, if any, the U.S. government had.
Rodger did not want to talk to CBC News Thursday, but last week he said he was trying to figure out exactly what the Russian authorities were looking for.
Justice officials said Rodger co-operated fully with them and there's no suggestion he or his company did anything wrong. They'll be forwarding a report and the videotaped interview with Rodger to the Russian government.