German arms dealer probed over possible link to Paris attacks: Prosecutor

Thousands of people observe a minute of silence near the Bataclan concert venue after the attacks in Paris.
Thousands of people observe a minute of silence near the Bataclan concert venue after the attacks in Paris.EPA

BERLIN (AFP) - German prosecutors said Friday they were investigating whether an illegal arms dealer had sold four assault rifles to a person in the French capital and whether there were "possible links to the attacks in Paris".

The 24-year-old German national from the southwestern town Magstadt was arrested on Tuesday on charges of having converted starter guns which shoot blanks into deadly firearms and illegally selling them online.

Police had found several handguns during a search of his home, said prosecutors in the nearby city of Stuttgart.

"Investigations so far suggest that the accused could have sold four assault rifles to a buyer in Paris in November," said the prosecutors' statement.

"Possible links to the attacks in Paris are being checked," it added, referring to the series of gun and explosive assaults that claimed 130 lives on Nov 13.

Earlier Friday, the mass-circulation Bild daily reported that the arms dealer, whom it identified as Sascha W., had sold two AK47s and two Zastava M70s on Nov 7 to an Arab customer in Paris.

"French investigators believe that the weapons were allegedly used in the attacks in Paris," said Bild.

Bild said the suspect was accused of having hawked the weapons on the Darknet - a hidden network used for both legal and illicit ends - using the name "DW Guns".

Four e-mails on his smartphone had shown that he sold "four Kalashnikov assault rifles to an Arab in Paris", added the newspaper.

The prosecutor's office said the man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of converting starter guns into deadly weapons and selling them on the Darknet.

"He is believed to have built the parts for this himself," the spokesman said, adding that only pistols had been found.