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Chemical Company Manager Convicted of Aiding Libyan Gas Plant

October 7, 1992

MANNHEIM, Germany (AP) _ An Imhausen chemical company manager has been convicted of helping build a poison gas plant in Libya and ordered to serve two years in prison.

Hans-Joachim Renner, 64, was convicted in state court on Tuesday of violating export laws between 1984-1989 by helping build the plant at Rabta, 60 miles south of Tripoli.

Chief Judge Juergen Henninger said Renner had co-signed the contract to build the plant - code-named ″Pharma 150″ - with an Iranian businessman who represented the Libyans in the deal.

The plant was given the code name to make it appear it was intended to produce pharmaceuticals, prosecutors said.

Henninger said Renner knew the plant would be making mustard gas and other chemical warfare products.

The judge said Renner had cooperated by admitting his part in the deal, speeding up a trial that began Sept 26. But he said Renner’s admission was not sufficient grounds to grant him probation, and issued the jail sentence.

Renner’s boss, Juergen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, was tried and convicted in June 1990 on charges of overseeing the deal to build the plant. He is serving a five-year sentence for violating export laws and tax evasion on the profits from the Rabta plant.

Three other men, a chemist and two engineers, also were convicted in the case and received sentences ranging from 16 months in prison to 10 months probation.

German involvement in the Rabta plant was disclosed by U.S. officials in late 1988. An embarrassed German government at first denied the allegations, but later acknowledged they were true and launched an investigation.

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