In August 2013, has been used in the Syrian capital of Damascus in cold blood the Nerve agent Sarin against civilians. After the horror images of the attack, agreed to President Bashar al-Assad , to destroy its chemical weapons and their precursors. The Swiss Department of foreign Affairs FDFA paid at the time a Million francs to the media an effective campaign of Destruction. Among the destroyed substances, a substance called Isopropanol.
However, unmoved by all of this, the company Brenntag Basle was only a few months later, five tons of this Isopropanol to Syria, and to a company that is in League with Assad's Regime. In the EU it was at the time export restrictions on the substance, but in Switzerland. The delivery has been approved with the stamp of the Basel chamber of Commerce. The state Secretariat for economic Affairs Seco, which is responsible for export controls, had nothing to complain about. The EDA knew anything about it.
The scandal of exports of Isopropanol has been brewing since April. At that time, the Swiss television based on UN trade statistics reported that the substance was, apparently, arrives from Switzerland to Syria. Now research shows that it was the Brenntag schweizerhall AG, which is behind the delivery. The successor to the schweizerhall Chemie AG since 2006, for the Brenntag group in the German food. The annual turnover amounts to around 13 billion Swiss francs.
detoxification in the ship's belly: installations for the neutralization of warfare agents in the hull of the Cape Ray. Photo: AFP
"The product Isopropanol was supplied by Brenntag in accordance with applicable law," explains the company. The Seco-have you confirmed that the Export was correctly handled. "Brenntag has a comprehensive export control system, which ensures that the applicable national and international export regulations are complied with."
The Recherchedesk of Tamedia documents, however, show that Brenntag showed only Isopropanol, but also 280 kilograms of a second chemical, called diethyl amine. It is a starting material for the devastating chemical weapons, VX and Tabun. This substance is mentioned Brenntag in your answer not a word.
Meanwhile, former MPI Chairman Abdulrahman Attar died:.
in Addition, the Basel pharmaceutical giant, Novartis, thanks to the documents now brought to light, of a second Swiss company, is involved in the affair:. The company said the Federal government last year that the two substances were given to a Syrian Partner, Novartis, for the manufacture of drugs. This is quite possible. But it questions.
The two Basel companies refused an interview. They confirmed only so much of how research was used. And the Federal government is satisfied with the explanations of the two groups. So what happened exactly? The Recherchedesk has tried to reconstruct the events.
In may 2014, wanted to deliver Brenntag 9.5 tonnes of chemicals to Syria, including the above-mentioned substances. Determined as they were for the company Mediterranean Pharmaceutical Industries MPI. Seco, the company reported that the production of medicines.
the MPI in Damascus has long been a licensee of Novartis and produced for you, among other things, the painkiller Voltaren and Voltaren Emulgel. For the preparation you can use actually, diethylene amine, and Isopropanol, and in 99 percent pure Form – as in the case of Nerve agents. The rapidly evaporating alcohol, Isopropanol, a cooling when Applying the gel effect.
The invoices for the supply of five tons of Isopropanol, the company Brenntag has been stamped by the Basel chamber of Commerce.
The pharmaceutical companies MPI belongs to a family that is closely associated with the Regime of dictator Assad. The late MPI Chairman, Abdulrahman Attar, was a business partner of Assad's Cousin Rami Makhlouf, a major Financier of the regime. Makhlouf was already on the sanctions list of Switzerland. The Seco says that Attar was himself on the lists. A few days after the request of Brenntag Seco responds: "We can tell you that the tangent submitted a business activity referred to goods, the existing provisions of the control of Goods and the embargo act. Seco has therefore no objection to this business." This in spite of the Sarin use in Damascus a few months before that, and in spite of the already existing export restrictions in the EU. "We are bound by the law," says Seco. "We may refuse to accept an Export just because of a bad feeling."
Assad's Cousin Rami Makhlouf, was a business partner of the MPI leaders.
The Seco did not consider it necessary, the EDA in the decision. This despite the fact that the foreign Department had stated in a media release that it co-financed the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons Arsenal. An employee of the EDA, does not want to be named, says: "We were not at all informed of what is happening. If Seco would have informed us, we would have refused this delivery, of course."
the UN-monitored destruction of action was still in full swing, as the Seco approved the export to Syria in the end. Later the Swiss scored again to 1.5 million Swiss francs for the destruction of the Syrian arsenals. In this paged, also 133 tonnes of Isopropanol. The citizens of Seldwyla could hardly do better: a Hand-financed the destruction of the starting materials of chemical weapons, while the other lets you merrily to Syria to deliver.
A few leaves out of Syria – and the Seco is satisfied
In the following four years, no one learned in Switzerland by the sensitive delivery. Meanwhile, Assad launched, despite the alleged destruction of its Arsenal further chemical attacks. On 4. April 2017 killed 86 people by Sarin gas. How Assad had the raw materials for these weapons is unknown.
it was not Until April of 2018, revealed the media on that Belgian companies had supplied Isopropanol to Syria. It was an international scandal. Now, the Federal Council noted clearly that a Swiss company had supplied the material to 2014 after Syria. At the end of April 2018, he calls for a "full and very speedy clarification of the end-use". Seco gets to Brenntag, and is referred to Novartis. Novartis asks, finally, of her Syrian Partner, the MPI documents on the use of the two substances.
Were used in the manufactured substances in Syria only as a starting materials for drugs? Production of the Brenntag operation in Basel. Photo: Georgios Kefalas (Keystone)
Then the Syrians will send a few sheets of paper with a listing, which is expected to show that the delivery "was in full" used for the production of Voltaren Emulgel from January 2015 to October 2018. This information is sent to Novartis via e-Mail to the Seco. This asked the intelligence service NDB, and also at Spiez laboratory. Only because of the meager list, no one came to the abuse. The Seco was satisfied.
In the case of Syrian documents is, however, exercised the highest of caution. The experts dealing with the topic of say. Assad and his Entourage have lied to the world multiple times, when it came to chemical weapons. Therefore, it is difficult to understand why, Novartis, and the Seco a company in Assad's haze circle pay solely on the basis of such papers Believe.
thanks to the UN statistics, Switzerland has exported Isopropanol to Syria, said the Seco hastily that the business is no Swiss laws were violated. The name of the exporting company, the authority held back. She also said that even diethylamine came to Syria. In the meantime, a whole series of questions put to the affair: For example, it is unclear whether the materials supplied were at all suitable for the production of medicines. Brenntag is not noted on the delivery notes explicitly that the substances did not correspond to the EU regulations for "good manufacturing practice" for pharmaceuticals. This practice is a Central component of quality assurance in the pharmaceutical production. Neither Brenntag nor Novartis wanted to take a position.
Five tons of Isopropanol, ten tons of Sarin
the role of Novartis, is unclear. It has commissioned the Syrians to order the materials at the neighbors in Basel, or they had a Deal with Brenntag? Novartis writes: "in Principle, the responsibility to comply with all rules and regulations clear to the exporter." For the procurement of the company had been in Syria. Only: Brenntag wrote to the Seco, the business relationship of Novartis to the Syrians was the basis of why the materials got delivered at all.
experts react anyway consternation at the approach of the two companies. Dan Kaszeta, a US expert on chemical weapons, says, that these substances would be in the wrong hands, devastating. "With five tons of Isopropanol can produce ten tons of fighting substance Sarin." A war of such amounts would have disastrous consequences. (Sunday newspaper)
Created: 17.02.2019, 11:24 PM