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Kazakh investigating Dubai firm linked to n-black market

Kazakhstan opened an investigation into n-black market that helped rogue states, exploring suspected ties in the country that housed USSR's atomic arsenal.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2004 13:48 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Kazakhstan has opened an investigation into the nuclear black market that helped Iran, Libya and North Korea, exploring suspected ties in the country that housed much of the Soviet Union's atomic arsenal, told officials.

Kazakhstan's intelligence agency is examining the Almaty office of a Dubai company linked by Washington to the market headed by the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, said the officials.

The black market's potential connection to Kazakhstan - which served as a nuclear testing ground until it disarmed after its 1991 independence - has raised concern about the proliferation of remnants of the Soviet weapons programme. Kazakh officials strongly deny that any highly enriched uranium - the form used in weapons - has leaked out of the country.

Bush accused Sri Lankan businessman Bukhary Syed Abu Tahir of brokering black-market deals for nuclear technology using his Dubai-based company SMB Computers as a front. That firm also has an office in the Kazakh commercial capital, Almaty.

The Kazakh intelligence agency, the National Security Com mittee, is investigating allegations that SMB Computers' affiliate was dealing with highly enriched uranium, said spokesman Kenzhebulat Beknazarov.

First Published: Feb 20, 2004 13:48 IST