Germany: Keeping the tradition

You have to hand it to Germany: at least it is consistent. During Dr Khan’s day, some of his best suppliers were Germany companies. Firms like Leybold Heraeus helped with a uranium hexafluoride handling plant as well as other items. And a Leybold employee, Gotthard Lerch (who was on trial earlier this year, which I’ll post on in the future), remained in touch with the doctor long after he left Leybold to set up his own company.

Of course, Germany was hardly the only country to supply Dr Khan. But evidently the black market network does not go gently into the night in Germany, as this July 12 news article reported.

German prosecutors said they are investigating some 50 companies suspected of smuggling technology to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant via Russia.

Berlin-based company Vero is suspected of having smuggled material to build the nuclear reactor through Poland to Moscow, from where it was taken to Iran, said Christoph Lange from the prosecutor’s office in Potsdam near Berlin.

He said Vero appeared to have been buying up nuclear technology in Germany and elsewhere in Europe since 2000 at the orders of Russia, which is constructing Iran’s first nuclear power plant in the town of Bushehr.

Lange said prosecutors have so far only traced material worth about 5 mln eur, but that this appeared to be the tip of the iceberg. Up to 150 mln eur worth of material may have left Germany for Iran, he estimates.

The companies being probed have claimed that the material was destined for Russia but at least a dozen of them must have known that Iran was the final destination, Lange said.

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