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Daimler-benz Under Investigation for Selling Iraq Missile Launchers

March 19, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Daimler-Benz, the German automotive giant, is under investigation for providing the heavy-duty trucks that Iraq used as launching platforms for dozens of mobile Scud missiles fired at Israel and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war, the German news media reported over the weekend.

The weekly Der Spiegel charged that Daimler-Benz managers were bribed by the Iraqis not to properly register the transaction with the Economics Ministry. The ministry supervises the export of products that can be adapted for military use.

But Daimler-Benz spokesman Matthias Kleinert insisted that the export deals were entirely legal. He confirmed that the company’s headquarters were searched last Thursday.

A top Daimler-Benz manager, Helmut Werner, said the investigation was triggered by an anonymous letter. He denied there was any truth to the media allegations.

The Stuttgart-based company does not deny selling the trucks but claims it had no knowledge of how the Iraqis intended to use them.

But experts interviewed by the media said that was inconceivable.

Another German company working closely with Daimler-Benz modified the trucks to serve as missile-launcher platforms, newspapers and radio broadcasters said.

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