The world’s most dangerous arms dealer | DW Documentary

He’s a key figure in the clandestine wranglings of two superpowers: the United States and China.

The FBI announced a five-million-dollar bounty for information leading to his arrest. Intelligence agencies and investigators have been trying for decades to stop him in his tracks: the arms dealer Karl Lee. The Chinese businessman has helped Iran develop its huge missiles arsenal. Missiles that kill in the Middle East, that are supplied to Russia for possible deployment in Ukraine and have the potential to carry nuclear warheads.

The documentary is the first to tell the story of the hunt for the phantom-like Karl Lee, alias Li Fangwei, probably the world’s most dangerous weapons dealer. He’s been indicted in absentia in the US and American presidents have even personally asked Beijing to take action against him. But his network continues to be active; and he’s still high up on the FBI’s most-wanted list. And this, at a time when missiles and nuclear warheads are becoming a tangible threat to humanity.

The documentary follows Karl Lee’s trail across four continents, from Washington and New York to Tel Aviv, from Europe to Teheran, Beijing and Karl Lee’s factory in northeastern China.

The prize-winning investigative journalists Philipp Grüll, Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer provide unique insights into the world of spy agencies and diplomacy. At the same time, the film is a lesson in the powerlessness of the West and the rise of China – as well as an unflinching appraisal of the new world order.

Sometime in the mid- to late-1990’s, a Chinese businessman named Li Fangwei based in northeastern China began exporting large quantities of very special components and other materials to Iran*. When experts discovered that he was violating United Nations export sanctions to supply Iran with ballistic missile technology, he began aggressively avoiding authorities. He changed his name over a dozen times and set up numerous shell companies to launder money and engage in illicit trade. Today, despite an FBI warrant from 2014 for $5 million dollars, numerous criminal indictments, and sanctions against his front companies and him personally, Li Fangwei continues to enjoy protection from government authorities and remains profitably active from his headquarters in Dalian City, China. Meanwhile, Iran continues to exploit his technology transfers to develop their missile program, spreading chaos and death in the region.

Who is Li Fangwei? Who is cooperating with him and protecting him?

It is our mission to spread knowledge of Li Fangwei’s role in mid-east instability to those most affected by it by making related information available in Chinese and Arabic. Please subscribe to our blogs, linked below, to receive email updates on our progress, and don’t forget to join our community on Facebook and Twitter!

Chinese Blog (中文博客)
Arabic Blog (المدونة العربية)

*Otherwise known as a corrupt religious mafia.

#documentary #dwdocumentary #china #usa


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