Top Stories
Top Stories
Wires

UPDATE 1-Shares in Germany's Brenntag drop on report of dual-use chemicals sale to Syria

sale to Syria@ (Adds Essen prosecutors, background)

FRANKFURT, June 26 (Reuters) - Shares in German chemicals distributor Brenntag dropped 4.4% on Wednesday with traders citing a media report that the company sold substances to Syria that could go into chemical weapons, among other uses.

The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday that Brenntag, the world's largest chemicals distributor, sold chemical raw materials to a Syrian pharmaceutical company.

While a potential use of the precursor materials, diethylamine and isopropanol, is in pharmaceuticals they can also be used to make banned nerve agent sarin, the paper said.

Brenntag was not immediately available to comment.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung quoted the group as saying shipments to Syria were made in compliance with the law.

Prosecutors in the western German city of Essen confirmed it had received a complaint concerning Brenntag from three non-governmental organisations, namely New York's Open Society Justice Initiative, Berlin's Syrian Archive and Switzerland's Trial International.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutors office said it had yet to decide whether to launch an investigation.

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in March that government forces had perpetrated 32 of 37 chemical attacks it had reported during the war in the country, including the use of chlorine and sarin.

The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Matthias Inverardi Editing by Keith Weir and Edmund Blair)