Raids at German companies ‘suspected of selling chemical weapon precursors’ to Russia

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Firms are “suspected of selling precursors to chemical weapons“ to Russia (AFP via Getty Images)
Firms are “suspected of selling precursors to chemical weapons“ to Russia (AFP via Getty Images)

Firms “suspected of selling precursors to chemical weapons“ to Russia have been raided by customs officers in Germany, it has been reported.

A network of seven companies have been searched “for proof of sending supplies to Russia” - revealing “a lot” of Russian paperwork that must now be translated by the authorities.

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) says one of the companies searched allegedly made “more than 30 shipments of chemicals and laboratory equipment” to Russia in the last three-and-a-half years, without the necessary permits.

The OCCRP claims to have seen documents that say investigators “are looking into a potential sale of a precursor for Novichok” - the nerve agent used to poison former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018.

The Evening Standard has not had sight of these documents, but a spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office in the city of Stade did not rule out the possibility chemicals are among items that have been traded.

Senior prosecutor Kai Thomas Breas told the Standard: “We have searched in seven properties for proof of sending supplies to Russia.

“We have found a lot of proof, and now we have to look at this proof. We don’t know what comes out at the end.

“I am not able to confirm the goods which are sent,” he added.

“It might be [chemicals] but at the moment I can’t confirm that it is chemicals.

“We have found a lot of papers - we have to translate them. A lot of the papers are in Russian language.”