UAE freezes assets of company linked to Pakistan nuclear leak
ABU DHABI (AFP) Apr 04, 2004
The UAE central bank said Sunday it has frozen the assets of a company linked to a Sri Lankan named by Western intelligence as a middleman in the sale of Pakistani nuclear secrets and parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

"We have frozen all accounts belonging or related to SMB Computer Co as part of the ongoing investigation into the suspected involvement of Sayed Tahir al-Bokhari in the sale of nuclear secrets," said bank governor Sultan bin Nasser al-Suwaidi, quoted by the official WAM news agency.

He said "the investigating committee which includes the central bank, Dubai's public prosecutor's office and other local parties, have made significant progress. The Dubai public prosecutor will announce soon the results of the probe."

The investigation has included "all individuals with links to SMB which is a computer programming company", said Suwaidi.

Dubai's public prosecutor's office refused to comment on the case when contacted by AFP and it was not immediately possible to ascertain Tahir's present whereabouts.

SMB's telephone number is listed in the Dubai directory but there was no answer on Sunday afternoon.

In early February Malaysian oil and gas firm Scomi said Tahir acted as a middleman in securing a 3.42-million-dollar contract from Dubai-based Gulf Technical Industries (GTI) in 2001 for the manufacture of 14 semi-finished components by SCOPE, a Scomi unit.

Scomi, which is controlled by a son of Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said at the time that it was never told of the end-use of these components.

SCOPE had shipped the components to GTI, which has no number listed in the Dubai directory, in four consignments from December 2002.

US and British intelligence revealed that five containers allegedly containing centrifuge components were seized from a ship, BBC China, in Taranto, Italy on October 4.

The containers had a "SCOPE" seal and they were heading to Libya, which intelligence say was planning to use them in its uranium enrichement programme.

Tahir was named by intelligence as a middleman used by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has admitted to selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea.