Swiss suspects in nuclear smuggling to Iran to face charges
Three Swiss men suspected of aiding an international nuclear smuggling ring that supplied Libya and Iran are likely to face charges this fall, prosecutors said Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Urs Tinner, his brother Marco and their father Friedrich have been under investigation by Swiss authorities for almost a decade for supplying equipment and technical know-how to a black market nuclear network led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
Walburga Bur, a spokeswoman for the Federal Prosecutors Office in Bern, told that the men's indictment is planned for this fall.
Bur said a shortened procedure, under which defendants admit the basic charges against them but face no more than five years imprisonment, was possible. Breaking Swiss laws banning the export of nuclear material normally carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.
Urs Tinner, who like his brother and father has been released on bail pending charges, claimed in an 2009 interview with Swiss TV station SF1 that he had worked with U.S. intelligence, tipping it off about a delivery of centrifuge parts meant for Libya's nuclear weapons program.
The shipment was seized at the Italian port of Taranto in 2003, forcing Libya to admit and eventually renounce its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, and exposing the A.Q. Khan smuggling ring.