KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20: The former head of Pakistan's nuclear programme, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, sent enriched uranium to Libya in 2001 and sold nuclear centrifuge parts to Iran in the mid-1990s, Malaysian police said on Friday.

Buhary Syed Abu Tahir, 44, named by the United States as a middleman in an international nuclear trafficking ring, claimed Dr Khan asked him to send centrifuges to Iran in 1994 or 1995, according to police.

Two containers of used centrifuge units were shipped from Pakistan to Iran via Dubai and were paid for with about three million dollars in cash and kept in an apartment used by Dr Khan each time he visited Dubai, Abu Tahir told police.

Mr Tahir said Dr Khan told him that a "certain amount of UF6 (enriched uranium) was sent by air from Pakistan to Libya" in around 2001, according to police.

The latest revelations in the scandal were made in a 12-page police report on investigations into Malaysia's alleged link in the nuclear weapons black market and the role of Abu Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman married to a Malaysian.

The probe was launched after US and British intelligence services told Malaysia that centrifuge parts manufactured by a local company had been found on a ship bound for Libya last October.

The Malaysian company, Scomi Precision Engineering (Scope), admitted making the parts but said it did not know their final destination and believed they were for the oil and gas industries.

The company is owned by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's son Kamaluddin, and Malaysia has strenuously denied that either the company or the country was knowingly involved in the nuclear arms black market.

The police report clears Malaysia and the company and recommends that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should launch investigations into "several individuals from Europe allegedly involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons".

According to the report, Abu Tahir and Dr Khan met Libyan representatives named as Mohamad Matuq Mohamad and Karim in Istanbul in 1997 when the Libyans asked for centrifuge units. Between 1998 and 2002 several more meetings were held, one in Casablanca and others in Dubai.

The enriched uranium was sent from Pakistan to Libya by air around 2001, and "a certain number of centrifuge units were sent in 2001-2002". The report claims that Dr Khan developed a "network of middlemen" that involved not only Tahir, but "several people and companies from Europe seeking to make profits by selling certain materials and equipment."

The report made no mention of whether any action would be taken against Mr Tahir and a police spokesman contacted by AFP refused to comment.

EUROPEAN MIDDLEMEN: Citizens of German, Turkey, Britain and Switzerland were named in the Malaysian police report as alleged middlemen involved in the nuclear arms black market.

Police say the information in the report was provided by B.S.A.Tahir, who has admitted selling nuclear secrets. The investigation was launched to probe allegations that a Malaysian company owned by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's son manufactured centrifuge parts for Libya's nuclear weapons uranium enrichment programme.

The report clears the company, Scomi Precision Engineering (SCOPE), saying Tahir never told the truth about the nature of the parts he ordered and the company thought it was involved in a legitimate business. But the document concludes with a call on the IAEA to "start investigations on several individuals from Europe allegedly involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons". -AFP

Most Popular

01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09

Opinion

Editorial

March in Pindi
Updated 26 Nov, 2022

March in Pindi

WITH the chief’s appointment out of the way and the army intent on staying out of politics, the fight is now down...
Tough IMF position
26 Nov, 2022

Tough IMF position

THE IMF has made it clear that Pakistan’s “timely finalisation of the [flood] recovery plan” — the key ...
The youth vote
26 Nov, 2022

The youth vote

PAKISTAN is an overwhelmingly young nation, with about 64pc of the population under 30. Yet our political system has...
Hard reset
Updated 26 Nov, 2022

Hard reset

IT is done. What should have been a routine matter in simpler times had this year become a vortex that seemingly...
Order of precedence
25 Nov, 2022

Order of precedence

IN Pakistan as well as abroad, there are few illusions about who actually calls the shots in this country. This...
Politicised police
25 Nov, 2022

Politicised police

AN important case is being heard at the Supreme Court these days, whose outcome could have a far-reaching impact on ...