charged with illegally trying to export Hawk missile system components to Iran
A 65 year old British businessman has been extradited to Texas to stand trial for allegedly selling components for Hawk surface to air missile systems to Iran, in violation of sanctions against that country, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Prosecutors say Christopher Tappin is charged with conspiracy to illegally export defense articles, aiding and abetting the illegal export of defense articles, and conspiracy to conduct illegal financial transactions. If convicted on all counts, Tappan faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Officials say between 2005 and 2007, Tappin conspired with others to purchase and export zinc and silver oxide reserve batteries, which are a special component of the Hawk. Tappin allegedly purchased five batteries from an undercover US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, and transferred $25,000 from an account in the UK to the US to pay for the batteries.
He then arranged for the transport of the batteries from the US to the UK in violation of export laws. Investigators say Tappin thought the batteries were bound for Iran.
Tappin will stand trial on the charges in federal court in El Paso.