South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said it is investigating letters of government support it issued to a local aviation company implicated in an alleged plan to sell U.S.-made helicopters to Tehran, which could possibly have contravened a United Nations embargo on supplying military-related products to Iran. The department provided a letter of support in April 2011 to Cape Town-based 360 Aviation ahead of a trip it was making to Iran in May last year, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said on Tuesday in a written reply to questions submitted by a member of opposition party the Democratic Alliance. 360 Aviation is tied to an investigation by South Africa's anticorruption watchdog, the Public Protector, of reports that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's partner, Gugu Mtshali, solicited bribes from the company in exchange for government support to sell U.S.-made helicopters through South Africa to Iran. The plan never materialized, according to a March 11 article in South African newspaper the Sunday Times.
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