Friday, February 03, 2006

German spy charges 'on Iran arms'

CNN News:
Federal prosecutors said Friday they have charged two Germans with spying and violating German export laws in a case media reports have said involves delivering weapons technology to Iran.

Prosecutors identified the men only as Volker St., 46, head of an unidentified company based in the eastern state of Thuringia and specializing in vibration technology, and Peter Paul K., 65, responsible for developing and exporting the company's "vibration test systems."

The pair are charged with violating German export laws by selling a vibration test system for 200,000 euros to a procurement agency employed by an unidentified foreign military intelligence service, prosecutors said in a statement.

German media have reported the technology was intended for Iran, to be used in its Shahab, or Shooting Star, medium-range missile program that can carry a nuclear warhead and reach Israel and various U.S. military bases in the region. READ MORE

Frauke Scheuten, a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Karlsruhe, refused Friday to comment further on the charges, which were filed on January 23.

According to prosecutors, the equipment was sent in January 2002 to a company in a third country, who delivered it to those who had ordered it.

"In May 2002, an employee of the company installed the equipment at the site and trained personnel who would be using it," they said.

Volker St. was arrested in May 2005 and remains in detention. Peter Paul K. was arrested in April 2005 and released a month later.

At that time, Germany's leading news weekly magazines Spiegel and Focus carried stories identifying the company as Tira GmbH, based in Schalkau in Thuringia and saying the equipment was ordered by Iran for use in its missile program.

Calls to Tira went unanswered Friday, but company's director Andrea Nofri denied any wrongdoing on a television news magazine, "Report Muenchen," broadcast on Tuesday.

"The company sees the whole thing as an accident," Nofri said. "The appropriate people are conducting an investigation at the moment."