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From: "Lucy Komisar" <lkomisar@msn.com>
Subject: Swiss govt mixed up in Russian nuclear materials traffic
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001

this involves a Russian colonel selling nuclear materials to the Saudis via the Swiss.

this also appears today in Sonntagsblick, largest circulation Swiss weekly. (It's the same company, so they ran it in Sonntagsblick, Dimanche & Caffe (Italian). The Sonntagsblick article is longer but not on the web. All based on my documents And there's more to come.


rough computer translation in English, then French original


The ex - prefect mixed up in a traffic of «red mercury» To sell 600 kg of nuclear material to Saudi, the UDC ex national counselor and his notary took precautions. Bern opens an investigation. Lucy Komisar Beat Kraushaar Henry Habegger

Wednesday, the public Ministry of the Confederation received a curious consignment from the United States: an explosive document packet attesting to the existence of a vast red mercury traffic via Switzerland for an amount of 200 million francs [$120 million]. «Red Mercury is the code-name given to all kinds of nuclear material passed by bootleg», specified Hansruedi Indermühle of the AC laboratory of Spiez; this fuzzy notion includes uranium, plutonium, or even cesium osmium 187 and other counterfeits.

On the Swiss face of the deal, one finds the flaming Bernard Rohrbasser, former prefect of the Veveyse and national ex - counselor (UDC/FR), his notary, R. and tradesman R.S. (names known to the writers). Other protagonists: the federal Foreign Affairs Department and the authorities of Cointrin. Sellers: Russian military. Recipient: a messenger of the Saudi Royal Family. Rohrbasser and the notary confirm as much. After investigation, it appears that the notary R. had attested to the existence of a line of credit of CF 200 million [$120 million] to finance the nuclear transaction. «Without this affidavit, the Russians would not have come here», recalls the notary. Rohrbasser having provided an attestation guaranteeing the legality of the operation, this enormous sum was unblocked. Written on paper on the letterhead of the National Council, the precise guarantee that the DFAE [foreign affairs dept] and the DMF [defense ministry] don't consider red mercury a war material, and it «can be merchandised from then on freely in Switzerland». In spite of the burning character of the document, the DFAE didn't judge it good to intervene.

The notary remembers: «Once in possession of these assurances, I had the visit of a Russian colonel in my study in Yverdon.» On understanding with the Saudi purchaser, 20 bottles each containing 30,23 kg red mercury was going to arrive in Switzerland. Price per kilogram: 330000 francs [$200,000]. Total of the business: 200 million. R says then that he «organized the arrival of the radioactive matter». The procedure was clear: the 600 kg had to arrive in Cointrin by plane. «We discussed with the customs and the police of the airport, we had to secure a part of the airport. It seemed me like a James Bond movie.» As Rohrbasser, the notary claims that the business was not ever finally concluded. But an anonymous informant is explicit: «The business was carried through.»

Curious detail: in 1994, the federal police did a search of the Yverdon study. The bloodhounds carried away all documents concerning red mercury. «But the police returned all documents to me. Since then, I haven't heard any more of this business», explained the notary.

But this calm risks to change into a storm: the public Ministry confirmed having received the incriminating documents. «We are investigating and are going to verify if there was a criminal offense», declared spokesman Hansjürg Mark Wiedmer.

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