Executive Admits He Knew in 1986 Firm Helped Libya with Poison Gas

A chemical company executive has admitted in court that he knew as early as 1986 that his firm was illegally sending Libya the material and technology to build a poison gas factory at Rabta.

Eugen Lang, who worked for Imhausen-Chemie A.G., produced a check for 225,000 marks (about $130,000) last Friday in a Mannheim court, saying, “This was my bonus from the unlawful Rabta project. I am hereby giving it away.”

He said he sent a check for a similar amount to the income tax authorities.

Lang is one of three Imhausen executives on trial for violating German export laws by the clandestine shipment of restricted materials to Libya.

Jurgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, founder and former manager of the chemical plant, is serving a five-year prison term in Mannheim for his role in the Rabta project. He is reported to be conducting “business as usual” from his prison cell.

When arrested in May 1989, Hippenstiel-Imhausen he had denied involvement in the Rabta plant.

He pleaded guilty in June 1990 to violating West Germany’s export law and evading back taxes, but not to supplying substances for producing poison gas. He maintained the plant was established to make pharmaceuticals.

Lang initially stonewalled, saying he had known nothing about poison gas production in Libya until the U.S. news media broke the scandal in 1989 on the basis of CIA reports.

But he confessed last Friday that he knew the real purpose of the Rabta plant in 1986.

His co-defendant, Rudiger Berndt, continued to deny early knowledge. He said he believed the project he was working on was for the production of pharmaceuticals in Hong Kong.

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