Dutch Newspaper Report: Oklahoma Bombing Suspect In Dutch Custody
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ A man held in a maximum-security Dutch prison is fighting extradition to the United States, and newspapers reported today he is linked to Oklahoma City bombing suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
In Washington, the Justice Department denied any connection between the suspect and the April 19 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Law enforcement officials in Oklahoma City also said they had no information connecting the suspect in Dutch custody with the worst terrorist incident in domestic U.S. history.
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf said a man identified only as Daniel S. is suspected of supplying weapons to those responsible for the bombing that killed 169 people and injured more than 500.
Dutch Justice Ministry spokesman Lars Poppes and a spokeswoman for the American Embassy in The Hague confirmed that the man was arrested in the Netherlands earlier this year for an unrelated case in the United States.
The U.S. Embassy said an extradition request had been granted. The 32-year-old suspect is fighting the order, the Justice Ministry said.
U.S. Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern said the man being held in the Netherlands, whom he identified as Daniel Spiegelman, was wanted in connection with the theft of some rare manuscripts from Columbia University.
Stern said the suspect is a convicted felon who was being extradited to face federal charges of illegal weapons possession _ but that the charges were unrelated to the Oklahoma City bombing.
``That story is false. There is absolutely no know connection between Mr. Spiegelman and the Oklahoma City bombing. There is no basis for that report,″ Stern said.
Likewise, FBI spokesman Walt Lamar and assistant U.S. attorney Steve Mullins said neither agency had any information connecting the suspect in Dutch custody with the bombing.
Stern said the weapons that form the basis for the extradition request were discovered by police during a search of the suspect’s New York City apartment. Spiegelman was convicted in 1984 of forging government documents, Stern said. He had no further details of the case.
De Telegraaf said Daniel S. allegedly bought six pistols with false identification in Arizona. The weapons apparently helped form the Oklahoma City bombing connection: bombing suspect McVeigh reportedly frequented western Arizona areas before the bombing.
But Stern said the weapons were not connected in any way with the bombing suspects.
De Telegraaf and other Dutch newspapers also said that the FBI found a list of up to 40 names of people believed to be linked to the blast in a safe belonging to the suspect in New York.
The most prominent criminal lawyer in the Netherlands, Abraham Moszkowicz, was quoted by Het Parool newspaper as saying his client was arrested last summer on suspicion of smuggling stolen Medieval manuscripts. The lawyer did not return several calls to his office today.
De Telegraaf said Daniel S. was arrested in the central Dutch city of Utrecht and is being held in a Rotterdam prison.
The suspect is also know as William Taylor, and Stern said he had at least five aliases.
De Telegraaf said the suspect was born in Tbilisi, capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The U.S. Embassy said it believes he is an American citizen.
The story of Daniel S. was carried by three Dutch newspapers, including the largest-selling morning newspaper De Telegraaf and the nation’s newspaper of record, the afternoon NRC Handelsblad.