Credit: Freepik

Brno Regional Court Deals with Suspected Plan to Export Nuclear Weapons Parts

The Brno Regional Court today began hearing the case of NRB-New Rock Bits, a company based in Turnov, east Bohemia, which is suspected of planning to export components that could be used to produce nuclear weapons to Pakistan, and without a permit.

In addition to the company, its Russian-born executive director Irina Ishchuk is also facing charges. She has denied guilt. She said she was “not in the know” about the deal.

The firm twice tried to export 184 drill heads, so-called dual-use goods, to Pakistan. After the first attempt in 2018, the authorities warned NRB that it was not possible to export such materiel from the European Union without a permit. Nevertheless, the company tried to export the drill heads again in 2019, via Koper, Slovenia.

“The company then applied for the permit, but did not wait for the decision and tried to export the goods,” said Jiri Zemek of the Brno Regional Prosecutor’s Office.

Ishchuk said that she had performed functions in the company that were not related to import and export, but she was in charge of contact with banks and payouts. “I was not in the loop regarding this deal. I had no idea about it, I only found out about it in May 2019 when they came for a police search. They checked my laptop, mobile phone and found out that I had no idea about it. I have nothing to hide,” she said.

The judiciary earlier gave a final sentence to Bozena Cvejnova, the company’s former employee in charge of exports and imports.

NRB wanted to export special drill heads to Pakistan, explaining that they were to be used there to search for underground water. It first attempted to do so around Christmas 2018, when German customs returned the shipment from Hamburg with a warning that the goods could not go to Pakistan. NRB was then sent a letter by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade stating that the goods could not be exported from the EU because they could be used in the production of weapons. In response, an NRB executive applied for an export permit but did not wait for a decision, and in early 2019 tried to get the warheads out of the EU through a port in Slovenia. This attempt was also stopped by customs, the goods were returned to the Czech Republic and reported to the Czech authorities. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and has a history of political violence and heated disputes with another nuclear power, neighbouring India.

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