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11 German Industrial Executives to Be Tried for Assisting Iraq

April 2, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Eleven German industrial executives will stand trial in the near future for supplying Iraq with facilities, equipment and materials to produce poison gas in violation of the export laws, according to the state prosecutor in Darmstadt.

Georg Nauth said bills of indictment have been handed down in court. Their preparation involved taking testimony from 300 witnesses and studying about a ton of documents, he said.

The trials are to begin in a matter of weeks, or months at the latest. The executives represent three firms, Pilot Plant, Karl Kolb and Wet.

According to Nauth, the executives advanced a $17.5 million deal with Iraq in a conspiratorial atmosphere and with full knowledge of the use to which the Iraqis intended to put the equipment they made available.

At least one of the accused, Peter Leifer of Wet, has confessed to his role, Nauth said.

But Heinrich Weiss, president of the German Industrial Association, complained Monday that German industry as a whole was being besmirched.

He accused the news media of launching an irresponsible campaign against leading companies, arousing widespread speculation that has damaged Germany’s reputation abroad as a serious commercial partner.

Weiss urged the government to provide the public with accurate information about the status of the investigation into illegal exports.

He urged that Germany be allowed to follow United Nations or NATO guidelines with respect to sensitive exports.

German industry should not be bound by the tough restrictions imposed in France, Britain or other countries, he said.

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