Tinner family avoids jail

The Federal Criminal Court has accepted a plea bargain in the case of Swiss engineer Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, ending a long-running probe into the family, who were involved in a nuclear smuggling ring. All the defendants are now free, but they will have to pay fines and legal costs.

This content was published on September 25, 2012

In its ruling on Tuesday the Bellinzona court approved a deal agreed between the Federal Prosecutor’s office and the Tinner family, and passed a suspended sentence of two years on the father and sentences of 50 and 41 months on his sons Urs and Marco respectively for violating federal law on war materiel exports. Given the time the sons have already spent in detention, they will not have to return to prison.

The family were part of the network set up by Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as the “father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb”, which also supplied technical support to the nuclear programmes of North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Libya in the 1990s and early 2000s. Despite the length of time the case has taken, many of the details concerning the Tinners’ involvement will never be known. (SF/

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