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Chilean police intercepted this Wednesday, at Santiago airport, the Portuguese trader wanted by Interpol suspected of introducing “explosive elements into Lebanon”, which resulted in the tragic explosion that took place in 2020 in the port of Beirut.
The Portuguese, who had boarded in Madrid bound for Santiago de Chile, was intercepted by agents of the Chilean Investigation Police, following a “yellow warning issued by Interpol”, explained the head of the International Police at Arturo Merino Benítez Airport, quoted by the EFE agency.
For having introduced “explosive elements into Lebanon”, this Portuguese “nitrate trader” is a suspect in an investigation into the explosion in Beirut in August 2020, in which more than 200 people died and 6,500 were injured, an incident that devastated entire neighbourhoods. in the Lebanese capital.
In August 2020, the Fábrica de Explosivos de Moçambique (FEM) confirmed to Lusa that it had ordered the 2.7 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that caused the explosions in Beirut, noting that the cargo seized by the Lebanese authorities was replaced by another shipment. .
The order was placed by FEM, in 2013, with the company Savaro, from Georgia, and the expected place of unloading was the port of Beira, in Mozambique, but that cargo “was never delivered”, as the ship was held up in Beirut by order of the local authorities, added a source at the company at the time.
In January 2021, Interpol had issued a warrant against the Portuguese trader who, in 2014, examined the warehouse in the port of Beirut where the shipment of ammonium nitrate was.
Impiden ingreso a Chile de hombre buscado por la Interpol por las explosiones en El Líbano en 2020 https://t.co/rplQBmCW3I
— T13 (@T13) April 20, 2022
According to Público newspaper at the time, the Portuguese being investigated is Jorge Moreira, a nitrate trader.
After the Interpol warrant was issued, FEM explained that its Portuguese employee had visited the port of Beirut in 2014 as a regular professional practice.
The Fábrica de Explosivos de Moçambique is owned by the company Moura, Silva & Filhos, headquartered in Póvoa de Lanhoso, district of Braga, Portugal.
The Chilean authorities also said this Wednesday that, after being identified, the Portuguese was returned to Spain, where he will be received in accordance with Spanish legislation and Interpol’s instructions.
Nearly two years after the Beirut disaster, the investigation continues and little progress has been made, owing to what several human rights organizations consider deliberate obstruction by former officials deemed suspect in this process.
The blast, billed as one of the most powerful non-nuclear artificial detonations in history, prompted the Lebanese government to declare a two-week state of emergency in response to the disaster.
As a result, protests broke out against the Executive for its inability to avert disaster.
In 2013, the Moldovan-flagged ship “Rhosus”, from Georgia, made a stop in Beirut, en route to Mozambique, according to a Lebanese security source, but the vessel never left that port due to problems. technical.
On board was 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used in the composition of certain explosives for civilian use, but can also be used as a fertilizer.
Leaders such as Lebanese President Michel Aoun and then Prime Minister Hasan Diab acknowledged that they knew of its existence before the incident.
The explosion of about 3,000 tons of this fertilizer caused a shock wave that devastated several neighbourhoods in the Lebanese capital, leaving about 300,000 people temporarily homeless.