German authorities began a trial today for three men accused of attempting to export aluminum tubes to North Korea for nuclear weapons development (see GSN, May 16).
Hans Werner Truppel, who was arrested April 9, is charged with failing to obtain a government permit before trying to export the tubes. Walter Markmann and Marc Wiese are charged as accessories to the alleged smuggling attempt. Prosecutors dismissed Truppel’s claim that the 214 tubes were destined for fuel tanks in Chinese aircraft, calling the assertion not technically credible.
“It had to be feared that the tubes would be delivered on to North Korea and used in that country’s nuclear weapons program,” the indictment said (Associated Press, Oct. 15).