BERLIN (Dispatches) – There are no grounds to investigate the world’s largest chemical distribution company over sales of substances that could be used to manufacture chemical weapons to a Syrian company, German prosecutors ruled on Tuesday.
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and other newspapers reported in June that Brenntag AG had sold ingredients with potential dual-use in painkillers and nerve gas to a Syrian drug maker, hitting its shares on concern over political repercussions in the United States.
But the prosecutors' office in the western city of Duisburg said there were no sufficient signs of wrongdoing that would justify an investigation into Brenntag, a company that employs 16,600 people.
Duisburg prosecutors had taken over the case from counterparts in Essen, who in June received the initial complaint about Brenntag from three non-governmental organizations: New York's Open Society Justice Initiative, Berlin's Syrian Archive and Switzerland's Trial International.
Brenntag said in June that a Swiss subsidiary had in 2014 supplied diethylamine and isopropanol to Syrian drug maker Mediterranean Pharmaceutical Industries (MPI) to produce a painkiller, in line with relevant laws and regulations.
Swiss drug maker Novartis said it had granted MPI contract manufacturing and local distribution rights for pain relief skin gel Voltaren.
"Delivery of both products was made in accordance with applicable law,” Brenntag said in its statement.
The German company said it did not circumvent European Union export restrictions and said the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs had confirmed compliance with export regulations.