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German arms dealer arrested in Austria

AFP · 30 Dec 2009, 11:40

Published: 30 Dec 2009 11:40 GMT+01:00

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The man, named only as Peter W., 67, had been on the run for 21 years after being charged in the United States with supplying Iran with 115 tons of chemicals used to produce lethal mustard gas in the late 1980s, the Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reported.

"The arrest took place in Hall, in Tirol on December 28th," criminal police spokesman Alexander Marakovits told news agency AFP, confirming the newspaper report.

"Peter W. travelled to Austria with a false Irish passport and was here under a false name, but investigators were still able to find him," he added.

"He appears to have felt safe in Austria and it took him by surprise when he was arrested." The arrest resulted from a joint operation by Austrian criminal police, local Tirol police and US authorities, Marakovits said.

W., who had travelled to Austria with his family, is currently being held in Innsbruck until the court rules whether to extradite him. It is unclear when the decision will be made.

Story continues below…

According to Marakovits, US investigators had been tracking W. for years. He was arrested in Croatia in 1994 but the court decided there was not enough evidence to keep him and he fled to Germany.

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Your comments about this article

14:19 December 30, 2009 by Frenemy
If the photo above actually depicts the man's supposed weapons cache, then IMHO he was hardly an "arms-dealer" (in the modern sense of the term). More like an antiques dealer actually!
17:48 December 30, 2009 by wood artist

If you read the story it says he was wanted for supplying 115 tons of chemicals. Based upon that, it would seem likely that the picture is not what he was charged with dealing. While agree the picture is not very illustrative of his actual sale, it's pretty obvious it's just there as a illustration and not something specific to his original crime.
19:06 December 30, 2009 by Frenemy
wood artist,

I agree. But I only mentioned the picture (not the chem aspect of what he's accused of).

But if you wanna talk about that...

"supplying Iran with 115 tons of chemicals *USED* to produce lethal mustard gas in the late 1980"

Implying that he provided raw ingredients (not Mustard gas itself). That puts him on the same level (if that) as Siemens in terms of culpability for WMD production (past, present, or future).

Its not as if he were running a one-man AQ-Kahn network for chemical weapons....
19:32 December 30, 2009 by zeulf
May depend on if these Chemi were special controlled items.

Not just off the shelf baking powder. was it not this Mustard Gas which killed many Iraqis by Saddam?
20:44 December 30, 2009 by Frenemy

They were/are certainly NOT export-restricted ingredients. Mustard is chemically un-complicated: (Cl:CH:CH^2)S (or something like that)

But that brings up another thing: considering it was Iraq that had the monopoly on expertise in this area, I find it suspiciously interesting that the US wants to jam him up for this (considering the American "dual-containment" policy at the time and all that...)
02:02 December 31, 2009 by zeulf
Frenemy For the paranoid manner in which you attack, and lecture. I'll bet You are a Teacher. And since we do not know which Chemi were exported, how can You say they were not Export restricted.

Do I owe you for the Class? and will You hand out credits
11:34 December 31, 2009 by Frenemy

"paranoid"? "attack"??? who's attacking? I apologize if that's the way you took it. I thought we were having an intellectual discussion.

I'm not a teacher (although I tried it once and was promptly fired...they said I was a "doer", and not really "teacher" material)
23:50 December 31, 2009 by lordwilliams629
This is news that will only get buried at the bottom of the media. The reason for this is because it shows irans guilt of using chemical weapons during 80's. See the press only wants to make the americans look like the guilty one's who sold iraq chemical weapons, which by the way was never proven. So I give this news outlet credit for reporting on something the rest of press world would like to bury.

Oh and by the way frenemy, how did you and that big 275 pound beast of yours enjoy christmas, did she buy you a case of cheap wine or was it 3 or 4 quarts of old english.
01:46 January 1, 2010 by Frenemy
why yes, your mom DID in fact get me something nice for Christmas (she said she would have paid a little more for my booze but she had to shell out so much extra to get her son the dildo he really wanted...)
01:56 January 1, 2010 by zeulf
Mr F Glad to see Your above comments... as to the Chemi for Irak. Why would they go so far to get every day items? I think it was special Chemi Good new Year All!!!!!
11:36 January 1, 2010 by Frenemy
@zeulf: buying in bulk (wholesale) is always cheaper. For all I know this guy ran a Sam's Club/Costco for basic lab chemicals and gave them a really good discount ;-)
17:46 January 1, 2010 by lordwilliams629
"275 pounds of love" what's it like champ?
19:20 January 1, 2010 by zeulf
would the above be an admission that You don't realy know which Chemi were used? and maybe You do not know the Complexity of making Mustard Gad compound.
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