The family of an employee of a United States company owned by Israel’s Elbit Systems is alleging foul play in his death while in Saudi Arabia to give technical support for a new missile system.
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Officials in the Saudi city of Tabuk say Christopher Cramer probably committed suicide, but the family says he sent a text message the night he died saying, “I think something bad is going to happen to me tonight.”
His body was found shortly afterwards below a third-floor window of the Sahara Makarim Hotel in Tabuk.
“He was there, he was in danger, and I believe he was killed,” Noah Mandell, a lawyer who was a close friend of Cramer and now represents his family, told Fox News, who broke the story.
Cramer, 50, had been employed by Kollsman Inc., a New Hampshire-based company controlled by Israeli defense electronics makers Elbit Systems. He was sent on his first trip to Saudi Arabia a week before this death to troubleshoot a thermal sight system used for American-made TOW missiles, a wire-guided anti-armor weapon.
Elbit said on Sunday it had received notice of Cramer’s death from Kollsman and that the matter was being investigated by the U.S. State Department. “We have no further details at this stage and are awaiting for a report from the State Department to our American subsidiary,” Elbit said, adding that it could not provide details on the contract he was involved with.
As to why an Israeli company was selling Saudi Arabia weapons technology, the spokesman explained, “It was a legacy system of Kollsman’s, an American product that had no components involving Israeli technology.”
Mandell and a nephew of Cramer’s, Christopher Arsenault, suspect that Cramer was killed because his presence threatened to reveal the fact that Global Defense Systems, a Saudi company involved in the deal, was intent on sabotaging equipment that Cramer was sent to fix.
“The point of sabotaging equipment is you get a customer who has to buy a new set and you’ve still got the old equipment,” Mandell told Fox News, according to thedailybeast.com.
Investigating the circumstances of Cramer’s death have will have to wait until his body is repatriated to the U.S. for an autopsy, so that evidence to back up the family’s suspicions relies almost entirely on hearsay for now.