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Cablegate: Aq Khan Trial: Gerhard Wisser Pleads Guilty!!

VZCZCXRO7380
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHSA #3091 2471129
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041129Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1510
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1284
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0532
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0021
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0585
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 0180
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY 0143
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR PRIORITY 0118
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0213
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS PRETORIA 003091

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR P, T, ISN/CPI, AF/S

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM MNUC PREL KNNP SF
SUBJECT: AQ KHAN TRIAL: GERHARD WISSER PLEADS GUILTY!!

REF: PRETORIA 2675 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) German citizen and South African resident Gerhard
Wisser pled guilty to unlawful manufacture of components of
illicit gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plants intended for
Libya and Pakistan and associated export control violations
on 04 September in the Pretoria High Court. In his statement
of facts regarding his crimes, Wisser acknowleged he engaged
in these activities in cooperation with Pakistani scientist
Dr. Abdul Quadeer Khan, Sri Lankan businessman Buhary Seyed
Abu Tahir and German citizen Gotthard Lerch, former head of
the vacuum division of Leybold Heraeus GmbH.

2. (SBU) High Court judge Joop Labuschagne, in accordance
with the plea agreement reached between the state and the
accused, sentenced Wisser to a total of 18 years'
imprisonment and required him to forfeit the profits of his
criminal activities (Rand 6 mil held domestically and an
additional Euro 2.85 mil seized abroad). In exchange for his
plea, and his commitment to cooperation with future domestic
and international investigations/prosecutions, 15 years of
Wisser's sentence will be suspended and he will spend the
remaining three years in "custodial supervision" (i.e. under
house arrest).

3. (SBU) Wisser's co-conspirator, Swiss citizen Daniel
Geiges, continues to maintain his innocence. His trial was
separated from that of Wisser and has been postponed until 21
September in light of Geiges' continued ill health. Charges
against Wisser and Geiges' company, Krisch Engineering, have
been dropped as redundant in the face of Wisser's guilty plea.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Mission will forward the full text of the
plea agreement, which includes affidavits from DoE Deputy
Administrator William H. Tobey, Los Alamos National
Laboratory expert Jeff Bedell and retired Oak Ridge National
Laboratory fellow Ron Miskell, to AF/S and ISN/CPI via email.
A more detailed account of the court proceedings and
subsequent media reaction will be provided septel.

Teitelbaum

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