A Russian Missile in Antwerp

by RIA "NOVOSTI" correspondent Vladimir Katin
Moscow OBSHCHAYA GAZETA
No. 7/83 16-22 Feb 95 (Signed to press 15 Feb) p 1


[FBIS Translated Text] It all started when Belgian customs officers found an armored vehicle stuffed with all kinds of electronics and labeled "Made in Russia" in Antwerp port storage facilities. It turned out that the find was no less than a mobile launcher for "surface-to-air" and "surface-to-surface" missiles, code-named MP-22-E, according to Russian classification. According to its bills of lading, the launcher was sent from Minsk via St. Petersburg to Atrafem, a Belgium firm, allegedly to be subsequently transported to Iraq. I have managed to find out some curious facts. First, Atrafem proved to be a front firm. Second, the missile launcher was not destined for Iraq at all. This version was circulated so as to divert attention from the actual addressee, a U.S. company named BDM International.

Shortly after the Soviet Union's collapse, the firm, based near Washington and headed by former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, bought from Belarus -- with the help of U.S. special services -- an entire arsenal of military hardware that had been left there. The goods were supplied by the "Beltekhexport" state association, which earned $50 million by selling the Soviet inheritance it received for free. To make sure that U.S. ears do not stick out too much from this legally and ethically dubious trade deal, a Canadian arms dealer, Emmanuel Veigensberg, was chosen as middleman. Shipments are still arriving, and the mobile missile launcher found by chance in Antwerp was not meant to be shown to the press, of course, but it just so happened...



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