Hans Melchers

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Person.png Hans Melchers  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Born18 May 1938
Interests • Iran-Iraq war
• Halabja
Dutch leader of chemical company, supplied poison gas components to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.

Hans Daniel Melchers is a wealthy Dutch businessman. He owned the Arnhem international group Melchemie, and supplied of poison gas components to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.

At the end of the 1980s he handed over the day-to-day management of this concern. With the new owners, the group continued under the name Melspring. From 1985 he acquired a substantial interest in the investment company HAL.

On September 12, 2005, his daughter, Claudia Melchers, was kidnapped from a house in Amsterdam. She was released a few days later, without a ransom being paid.

Melchers is on the Forbes global billionaire list as well as on the Quote 500 list of the richest Dutch people.

Hans Melchers Fund

After his daughter was kidnapped, Melchers had to deal with a lot of negative publicity, for example accusations in the media of being involved in trafficking drugs.[1] Melchers then started a number of legal proceedings, because he felt that his honor and reputation were affected by the publications. As response, he also established the Hans Melchers Fund, a foundation that can provide financial support to individuals and institutions "wrongly blackened in the media".

The board of the foundation consists of Dries van Agt and Job de Ruiter, both former ministers. There are also two journalists in it. The chairman is lawyer Herman Doeleman.[1]

Poison gas attack Halabja

In March 2018, Hans Melchers was charged by the US law firm MM-Law with complicity in the mass murder of thousands of Kurds during the Saddam Hussein era in Iraq.[2][3] Between 1981 and 1989 Iraq produced over 3,500 tons of chemical agents for which Hans Melchers' company Melchemie supplied the raw materials. The US had decided to covertly supply Iraq with these kinds of weapons to help in the war against Iran, and received significant help from their European NATO-allies to circumvent official sanctions.

On March 16, 1988, these chemicals in the form of mustard gas and nerve gas were used by the Iraqi Air Force in a military operation in the Kurdish border town of Halabja. 5,000 were killed and more than 10,000 injured.

This indictment against Hans Melchers follows after the company Melchemie had already been fined 100,000 guilders by the Arnhem police judge H. Collewijn in 1986 for the prohibited supply of poison gas components to Iraq.[4] In contravention of the Strategic Goods Chemicals Export Decree, Melchemie exported more than 20,000 kilograms of phosphorus oxychloride to Iraq between November 1984 and January 1985.

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