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German in spotlight over ‘Islamic bomb’

4 February 2004

HAMBURG – A German businessman who allegedly helped Pakistan build its so-called Islamic bomb has denied in the media that he had ever visited Iran to assist its nuclear research and has called the claims “a bad joke”.

The 80-year-old physicist was quoted Wednesday by the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung as saying, “I can’t understand where this suspicion comes from.” He has been prosecuted in the past over allegations that he supplied disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan with key technology, but was acquitted.

The newspaper named him only as Otto H., adding that western intelligence services had identified him as the German middleman who was known to his Pakistani customers as “Brummer”.

It said he had been employed as head of Middle East and Africa sales at a company called Leybold-Heraeus in Hanau, a town east of Frankfurt where other nuclear industries are concentrated.

It said he was visited in December by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official, Olli J. Heinonen, who said he had information originating in Iran that H. had been part of the supply network to that country as well.

The newspaper said intelligence services matched two other nicknames mentioned by Pakistani officials, “Liech” and “Heinz”, with Gotthard L., 61, and the late Heinz M.

The newspaper had been unable to contact L. on Tuesday, but his wife told the paper by phone: “It’s all absolutely untrue.” L. had formerly been employed at Leybold-Heraeus too.

The paper said the IAEA had a list of three names involved in the Iran trade: H. and L. were the men accused of links to Qadeer Khan.

The newspaper said a third German businessman alleged to have helped Iran – it gave only his initial, N. – could not be identified. The Sueddeutsche said German experts could not place him at all.


Subject: German news