Middleman in Gas Factory Scheme is Said to Have Died Last Month

An Iraqi exile believed to have been the intermediary between the Libyan government and a West German industrialist convicted for illegally supplying material to build a poison gas factory, is reported to have died in London last month.

The death of 63-year-old Ishan Barbouti was announced in Stuttgart this week by his lawyer, Peter Mueller, who said his client has just returned from a visit to Libya.

Experts believe Barbouti was the only person who could have cleared up certain discrepancies in the confession of Jurgen Hippenstiel-Immhausen, founder and former manager of Immhausen-Chemic, who was sentenced to five years in prison on June 27.

Hippenstiel-Immhausen, 49, admitted in a Mannheim court two weeks earlier that he had illegally sold Libya equipment, substances and know-how to build a chemical weapons plant.

He apparently established his contacts with Libya through Barbouti, who was based in London.

Hippenstiel-Immhausen was found guilty of tax fraud and violating West Germany’s export laws. His penalty, considered very mild, was understood by many observers to be part of a deal involving his confession.

The legal authorities are said to have considered the political need to spare the West German government additional embarrassment inasmuch as it had originally refused to prosecute the industrialist.

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