ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland has charged a father and two sons with involvement in the smuggling ring of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atom bomb who sold nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The three Swiss men were engineers who worked with centrifuges - used to enrich nuclear material - and became friends with Khan, media reported.
The office of Switzerland's attorney general (OAG) said the men had admitted to offences including forgery and money laundering in the hope of a reduced sentence.
"From the outset, the OAG's enquiries indicated that the accused had links with the network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the 'father of the Pakistani atom bomb', who supplied Libya with nuclear weapons technology," prosecutors said.
The Khan network trafficked nuclear material, equipment and know-how to Iran, Libya and North Korea for some two decades before Khan was arrested in 2004.
Swiss authorities started investigating Marco Tinner and his brother Urs the same year, confiscating thousands of documents. A year later they expanded investigations to include their father, Friedrich.
Switzerland, which is not a nuclear power, is not authorized under the global Non-Proliferation Treaty to possess documents related to nuclear weaponry.
In 2009, Urs Tinner said that he had actually helped the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to uncover Libya's nuclear weapons program by tipping it off that Libya was about to get the equipment needed to make an atom bomb, Swiss media reported.
Prosecutors said they had not been able to verify this.
(Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Ben Harding)