ORPINGTON: Christopher Tappin to discover extradition fate on missiles to Iran charge (From News Shopper)
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Orpington millionaire awaits extradition fate over Iran missiles charge
A RETIRED businessman accused of conspiring to sell parts for Iranian missiles will discover whether he will be extradited to the US on February 11.
Christopher Tappin, aged 64, is accused of conspiring to export special batteries for surface-to-air missiles from New York to Iran and could be jailed for up to 35 years if sent to Texas and found guilty.
The millionaire grandfather, who lives in Farnborough Park in Orpington and is the president of Kent County Golf Union, claims he was “set up” by US customs agents.
Mr Tappin will discover whether he is to be extradited during a hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates Court.
In 2006, while a director for Brooklands International Freight Services Ltd, Mr Tappin was hired by a client to ship the batteries from the US to the Netherlands.
However, the company selling the batteries, Mercury Global Enterprises, was a fake organisation set up by US customs agents to ensnare people suspected of shipping weapons technology to Iran.
The US government, which has dubbed Mr Tappin a ‘fugitive’, claims he knew the 25,000 dollar batteries would be sent on from the Netherlands to Tehran, but Mr Tappin denies this.
He claims the undercover US agents told him it was legal to ship the batteries and even promised to arrange the paperwork, and he told News Shopper he is the victim of “entrapment”.
Both the client, British citizen Robert Gibson, and another man, US citizen Robert Caldwell, were convicted and jailed for two years in the US in 2007 for their part in the deal.
Mr Tappin was arrested in May this year and was initially held in Wandsworth Prison for 24 hours.
His case has sparked criticism of the extradition treaty between the US and the UK, which allows the US government to extradite British citizens without showing our courts any evidence against them.