There are no sufficient signs of wrongdoing for prosecutors to open a probe into Germany-based Brenntag’s alleged sale of substances that can be used in chemical weapons, Reuters cited the prosecutors’ office in the western German city of Duisburg as saying on Tuesday.
The statement comes after a joint report in June by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the Swiss publisher Tamedia and the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk claiming that Brenntag, the world’s largest chemicals distributor, allegedly sold substances that could be processed into chemical weapons to a Syrian company.
Brenntag, in turn, insisted that its Swiss subsidiary supplied diethylamine and isopropanol to Syrian drugmaker Mediterranean Pharmaceutical Industries (MPI) in 2014 to produce a pain killer, in line with relevant laws and regulations.
Duisburg prosecutors received a complaint about Brenntag from their colleagues in Essen after the initial document was filed by three non-governmental organisations, including New York’s Open Society Justice Initiative, Berlin’s Syrian Archive and Switzerland’s Trial International.
Shortly after, Brenntag shares dropped by 5.8 percent as traders expressed concern over the risk of political consequences for the German group in the US.
Syria's Destruction of Chemical Weapons
The international community has expressed concerns about the use of chemical weapons in Syria since the alleged use of sarin gas in Damascus in 2013.
Following the incident, Syria joined the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and agreed to destroy its chemical arsenal.
Commenting on the matter, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Rossiya-1 TV channel last year that “chemical weapons in Syria were destroyed” and that such weapons are now only used “by extremists and militants” in the Arab country.
“This is a proven fact and every time, when yet another settlement, another town is liberated by the Syrian army, the servicemen find depots with chemicals there. This has been proven by life, this has been proven by facts,” she added.