Germany prosecutes suspects for arms control violations because Russia sells them

BERLIN – German prosecutors said on Tuesday they had indicted a businessman on suspicion of violating arms control laws by helping Russia buy sophisticated machinery that could be used to make chemical weapons .

The man, identified only as Alexander S. because of privacy regulations, was arrested by German customs officials in the eastern city of Leipzig last year.

Federal prosecutors said the suspect has also been formally charged with violating export rules to sell restricted goods to a company in Russia and on behalf of Russian intelligence agencies.

Prosecutors allege that a Russian company with which the suspect has business ties is a front controlled by intelligence agencies to cover up purchases by the Russian military industry.

The goods purchased were dual-purpose, prosecutors said, meaning they could be used for civilian purposes or to develop atomic, biological or chemical weapons or missiles. They allege that the suspect knew he needed an export license for goods he had sold since November 2017 for about 1 million euros (US$1.1 million) to a Russian front company. .

Prosecutors said German authorities had repeatedly warned the man about their concerns about the Russian company.

They say the suspect provided false information about the actual recipients. They allege that in one case he also exported electronic equipment to a Russian institute involved in the production of components for the nuclear weapons industry.

Germany recently arrested and prosecuted a number of people suspected of working for Russian intelligence agencies. Earlier this month, a 30-year-old Russian man appeared in court in Munich accused of passing information on European missiles to Russian intelligence. Germany prosecutes suspects for arms control violations because Russia sells them

Jake Nichol

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