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Sep 18, 2012 6:18 PM by Lauren Molenburg

Swiss nuke smugglers who helped CIA to escape jail

BERLIN (AP) - Three Swiss engineers are set to escape jail for nuclear smuggling, in part because they helped the CIA bust a global ring that was supplying Libya's atomic weapons program.

Urs Tinner, his brother Marco, and their father Friedrich are accused of aiding the smuggling network of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

But according to Swiss prosecution documents released Tuesday setting out a plea bargain deal, the three also cooperated with U.S. authorities who were able to seize a shipment of nuclear equipment destined for Libya in 2003.

The CIA operation ultimately destroyed the Khan network and Libya gave up its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

Prosecutors say their work was hampered by the Swiss government's decision to destroy key evidence in the case.

The plea bargain will be put before a Swiss court for approval next week.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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