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West German Firm Admits Role in Helping Build Libyan Plant

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Juergen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, head of a chemical factory in southern Germany that bears his name, has admitted after weeks of denials that his firm did in fact help Libya build a chemical plant suspected of manufacturing poison gas.

Imhausen Chemie, a company based in the town of Lahr, is under investigation by the government for possible illegal export of material and equipment to the Libyans.

Until a few weeks ago, Hippenstiel-Imhausen, when questioned on the matter, claimed he did not even know where Libya is.

Now he has admitted his company’s involvement, the weekly Stern reported Tuesday. It cited prosecution and intelligence sources.

Moreover, he has implicated another West German firm, Salzgiter Industriebau, which has strong ties with important political figures, Stern said.

The authorities in Bonn only recently began to investigate allegations that West German companies were helping Libya manufacture chemical warfare weapons.

They acted on the basis of American intelligence evidence that the Germans had originally dismissed as inadequate.

American and Israeli leaders are concerned that the chemical weapons produced by the Libyan plant could wind up in the hands of terrorists, since Libya funds and trains terrorist groups.

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