Switzerland rejects man’s $1m damages claim in Dr Khan nuclear bomb secrets case

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A Swiss man whose computers were destroyed a decade ago during an investigation into the illicit sale of nuclear weapons material to Libya has failed to force Switzerland to pay him more than $1 million in property damages.

A ruling rejecting the claim, published by the Swiss Federal Tribunal on Wednesday, is the latest chapter in the case surrounding Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme.

Last year, an unidentified Swiss man whose computers were seized by law enforcement officials investigating the case demanded the government pay him 1.05 million Swiss francs.

The destruction in around 2006 of his materials, including backups and compact discs, cost him his life savings and retirement, he claimed in court documents.

A three-judge panel of Switzerland’s highest court, however, confirmed a lower court ruling that concluded the statute of limitations on the matter had expired in 2011.

Though the high court did not release the man’s name, the ruling stated his case was linked to the Tinner family — father Friedrich Tinner, along with sons Marco and Urs — who were arrested in 2005 and jailed for about three years.

In 2012, they reached a plea deal with the Swiss government in which they acknowledged supplying centrifuge parts and participating in Khan’s smuggling ring. They were fined but avoided more time behind bars.