Potsdamer investigators unravel the network of Russian-smuggling deals for nuclear reactors in Iran
POTSDAM Potsdam prosecutor's investigations of the smuggling of special parts for the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Iranian coastal city of Bushehr have expanded considerably. At the beginning of the investigations in 2004 to only focused on the "Atom-brothers" as a tabloid newspaper called George and K. Axel. The two heads of the special heavy equipment engineering ISV from near Magdeburg have long been condemned.
But now, almost three years after the first raid, the extent of the investigation to look little more complex, in connection with the secret, is anti-Israeli nuclear weapons program of Iran. This year, the group of suspected suppliers has once again expanded considerably. "There are now nearly 50 companies, and it does not stop," said the Potsdam prosecutor Chris Lange, determined the nationwide in the fall. Against a dozen companies is already determined.
Potsdam's authority as a priority prosecution for economic crimes in Brandenburg is responsible, because "nuclear-brothers" had tried in 2001 and 2002, one cut in ten parts of crane that was moving in the power plant Bushehr fuel rods, the Brandenburg-Polish border into Russia and finally To export to Iran. Customs investigators came to the business in 2004, when they routinely sighted export delivery notes of the ISV. From Germany, in principle, should any items be exported to Iran, where they can be used as nuclear technology. Because such export is always to the detriment of the Federal Republic of diplomatic entanglements allies.
What is the value in the coastal city of Bushehr had illegally supplied parts, also can only guess. "So far we have seen a total contract value of slightly more than five million dollars," says the specialist economic crime, Lange, "but there must be more run." Much more. Probably more than $ 100 million. There is even an indication for a contract worth about $ 150 million.
The fact that the mastermind behind the smuggling deals will soon be prosecuted, is not yet in sight. The main accused, all of German business people of Russian origin have settled in time to Russia. Presumably, they enjoy it for the protection of government regulators. After all, had Dmitri S., CEO of Vero and export trading company, and his accomplices of Berlin from the smuggling operations on behalf of the government-Russian company Atomstroyexport (ASE) is threaded. For the investigators is clear after intensive investigations: Between ASE and the now liquidated company Vero trade, there is no dividing line. "Vero is ASE, for example, the managers have the same fax numbers on their business cards," said Lange.
The war destroyed the nuclear reactor-Siemens
How important is the construction of the Bushehr miles for Russia has seen in the fact that the great power any sanction against Iran to prevent the international community, especially the United States, to impose for the alleged nuclear bomb program wants. The ASE is building in the Russian government commissioned world's nuclear power plants - even in Bushehr on the Persian Gulf. The contracted volume of orders for this Meilerbau is 800 million U.S. dollars. For Russia, there is a lot.
As high as the profit, so large are obvious to the Russian contractor, the problems with the construction of light water reactor. Without them, the smuggling is not explained. In 1974 during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi Western-oriented, the German Siemens Group to build the reactor in Bushehr. The Iranian Revolution was the 1979 Imperial Peacock Throne to collapse, and during the first Gulf War from 1980 to 1988 destroyed the Iraqi military reactors in the Persian Gulf. Iran asked why in 1990 at Siemens, whether the group the power plant from the ruins build again. But the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control in Eschborn near Frankfurt am Main, Siemens issued no permit. Subsequently, Iran concluded in 1995 with the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry signed a contract on reconstruction and commissioning of Bushehr. After this 800-million-dollar deal should the power plant to go online in 2001. But the technical - and smuggling technical - problems could not be solved so quickly.
During the Cold War espionage-from strategic considerations, nuclear reactor before and behind the iron curtain built fundamentally different DIN standards. Even if the secret construction plans popular items would be spied on, so a replica was pointless. The systems were just not compatible in detail.
Russia's problem and the solution smuggling
Prior to this difficulty, the Russians were in 1995: They had not to complete the theory nor the material to the reactor designed to Western standards. To overcome the obstacle, the mid-1990s, the quasi-governmental group founded Atomstroyexport. He should build the world order in Russian nuclear power plants. However, ASE, this was another problem, the contacts with potential suppliers were missing in the West. Therefore, set up by the ASE in Western Europe so-called front companies or if it was appropriate, contacted - such as Vero Dimitrij S. GmbH of Berlin. From 1999/2000, the trading company which had exported since the early 1990s, all sorts of goods-and fixed only to the Bushehr business.
How the Vero / ASE-people, a special company that has designed a central core for the reactor in Bushehr: the crane that was used inside the power dome millimeter fuel into the combustion chambers.
That the Vero-dealer, the "atom-brothers" found near Magdeburg, is probably not a coincidence. Within the Warsaw Pact, the GDR was a cross-border responsible for the production of heavy equipment for the nuclear power plant construction. George K. was an absolute expert in this field. The businessmen from Vero knew off and had probably also have lists of experts from the past. The "Atom-brothers" K. ordered in turn required parts for other companies.
And not all of these companies were clueless. After all product components have been sought for a nuclear power plant on the technical levels of the 1970s. Much of this was out of date, some long since removed from the production program. Some companies that have been requested by the Magdeburger ISV engineering firm, declined not only in thanks, but refers also to the legal situation: banned exports to Iran. The fact that some German companies to give up yet for the nuclear smuggling, is explained clearly and with the pressure, the Vero / ASE build wont. Under the motto "carrot and stick" the company is made clear: By participating, is the way to the Eastern European market paved - who resists, no chance there.
The "Atom-brothers" knew that they were acting illegally. They claimed initially, the crane was destined for Russia, which would have been permitted, but stood under the weight of the evidence it quickly. Extremely helpful for the truth, according to the experience of German investigators always a reference to the black list of the U.S. administration. For companies on this list, the U.S. market is taboo. And end up on this list all companies, of which it becomes known that they supply parts to Iran nuclear plant or company curl_exec do this.
In a public trial before court that the prosecutor suspects makes it clear the path to the list can not be avoided. Presumably this is a major reason why smuggling methods are often completed in the necessary silence. Long known as federal prosecutors in these cases, in which enters a company's negotiators to his office and begins the conversation by saying: "I am instructed to inform you on behalf of the company to offer full cooperation."