EXTRADITED Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin is due to be sentenced in the USA today (January 9) after pleading guilty over arms dealing charges.

Tappin changed his plea to one count of aiding and abetting the illegal export of defence articles at a hearing in El Paso, Texas, last November and faces a 33-month sentence when he appears in court today.

The 66-year-old, of Larch Dene, Farnborough Park, had previously denied attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands, saying he was the victim of an FBI sting.

But he changed his plea in an agreement with US prosecutors. Under the deal he is expected to be able to serve part of his sentence in this country.

He was originally thought to have faced up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

The case followed an investigation which started in 2005 when US agents asked technology providers about buyers who might have raised red flags.

Those customers were then approached by undercover companies set up by government agencies.