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'Iran missile man' to appeal ruling

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Christopher Tappin denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles

Christopher Tappin denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles

Christopher Tappin denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles

A retired businessman has vowed to appeal to Britain's highest court after a judge ruled he could be extradited to America on charges of conspiring to sell parts for Iranian missiles.

Christopher Tappin, 64, denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands. He has fought a long battle against attempts to send him to face trial in America, where he could face 35 years in jail.

District Judge John Zani ruled at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court that the extradition could go ahead but released him on conditional bail.

Tappin, from Orpington, Kent, said he would challenge the decision in the High Court - and beyond that in the Supreme Court if necessary. Speaking outside court, he accused US agents from a "maverick" government agency based in Texas of acting illegally to entrap him.

He said: "There remains clear evidence of fraud, which they have tried to cover up by implicating myself and others by means of skullduggery and misleading statements. I look forward to winning the next round of this intriguing case. I am sure that justice will eventually prevail, preferably British justice."

White-haired Tappin hit out at the "one-sided" extradition treaty between the UK and the US but said he still felt confident he would win in the end.

"I believe that my case is strong enough to resist the Americans," he said. "I think they ought to take a look at themselves and how they conduct themselves in trying to interfere with other people's lives in other countries."

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Tappin is accused of conspiring to export defence articles without licence or approval, aiding and abetting the attempted export of defence articles without the required licence and intentionally and unlawfully attempting to conduct financial transactions from the outside to a place inside the US with the intent to promote the carrying on of a specified unlawful activity.

The former director of Surrey-based Brooklands International Freight Services claims he was the victim of entrapment by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

His lawyer, Ben Cooper, told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court last September that the American agents "overstepped the mark of legitimate law enforcement" and effectively "caused the offence to be committed".


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