Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Three German Firms to Go on Trial for Helping Iraq Produce Poison Gas

January 4, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Executives of three German firms will go on trial in Darmstadt this month for allegedly helping Iraq produce poison gas.

The state prosecutor is expected to charge them with selling to Iraq equipment, materials, technology and know-how for chemical weapons, according to press reports this week.

The accused are prepared to admit to lesser charges to avoid severe penalties, informed sources said. But a prosecution spokesman said Wednesday that no deals have been made.

The executives are from the Karl Kolb company and its subsidiary, Pilot Plant, both near Frankfurt, and from Water Engineering, a Hamburg-based firm.

The press reports said the charges are based on the testimony of employees of the three companies and documents seized at their offices.

The Bonn government was informed of Karl Kolb’s activities in Iraq as long ago as 1981, but did nothing to stop the construction of a poison gas plant at Samarra.

It argued at the time that the accusations against Karl Kolb could not be substantiated.

That was the same argument used when charges were first made against the Imhausen chemical company, which helped Libya build a chemical weapons plant at Rabat.

The company’s owner and manager, Jurgen Imhausen, was subsequently arrested and is now serving a prison sentence for violating export regulations.

Recommended from JTA