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New allegations made against Regli

Peter Regli is now accused of knowing about South African plutonium smuggling Keystone Archive

New accusations made against the ex-head of Switzerland's secret service allege he collaborated with South Africa's former Apartheid regime to traffic plutonium.

This content was published on November 18, 2001 - 19:31

Without revealing his identity, the former chauffeur of Wouter Basson, who headed up the Apartheid government's chemical weapons programme, said Regli met Basson four times between 1986 and 1993.

For his part, Basson travelled to Switzerland 15 times, where the 33-year-old witness acted as chauffeur. The witness said that Basson held several meetings with Regli in the Swiss Federal parliament building in the capital, Bern.

Regli has in the past stressed that he only met Basson once.

In an interview with the Swiss newspaper, "SonntagsBlick", the witness said Regli must have known that the weapons dealer, Jürg Jacomet, wanted to sell the radioactive material to Basson.

"Regli was very well informed," the witness said "I heard telephone conversations between them and they used abbreviations, for example pluto for plutonium."

Regli knew about the falsified licence operated by Jacomet to buy enriched uranium. "I can only imagine that if it was a question of power...or maybe he had financial interests."

The witness also said that Jacomet had direct contacts with several other members of Switzerland's secret service.

The Swiss defence ministry is aware of the allegations, spokesman Oswald Sigg said. Several defence officials have met the witness in question.

The minutes of their meeting have been sent, amongst others, to the defence minister, Samuel Schmid. Sigg did not want to give further information and stressed the ministry was awaiting the results of the current investigation into the Regli affair.

The Swiss defence ministry launched an investigation on November 2 into suspected links between Switzerland's secret service and the former Apartheid regime. An earlier internal probe found no evidence of collaboration between Swiss secret service and the Apartheid government's chemical weapons programme.

Basson claimed that Regli helped him to acquire 500 kilogrammes of an illegal drug, Mandrax, from Russia in 1992. Regli, who is now retired, has always denied the allegations against him.

Two years ago, a Swiss parliamentary investigation into alleged collaboration between the Swiss and South African secret services cleared Regli of involvement in South Africa's weapons programme, and accepted Regli's explanations that his contacts were "purely of an informative nature".

swissinfo with agencies

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