Businessman fails to win fight against extradition

A RETIRED businessman has vowed to fight on to end his “nightmare” after failing in a High Court attempt to halt his extradition to the US on charges of conspiring to sell batteries for Iranian missiles.

Lawyers for Christopher Tappin, 64, have condemned the “one-sided” UK-US extradition treaty and say they will seek to block his removal in the Supreme Court.

Tappin, from Orpington, Kent, denies unlawfully attempting to export batteries for Hawk air defence missiles and says he was the victim of entrapment in a “sting” organised by US government agents.

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But yesterday Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cranston, sitting in London, rejected his challenge to a decision in February last year by district judge John Zani at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court that extradition could go ahead.

The judges ruled that the entrapment argument was “unsustainable” and extradition would not be “oppressive” or a breach of human rights.

The judges also ruled the charges the president of the all-Kent Golf Club Union faces are “extraditable offences”, and they had to accept the extradition request was made “in good faith”.

Tappin, a former director of Surrey-based Brooklands International Freight Services, has said he believed he was exporting batteries for the car industry in Holland.

Mr Justice Cranston said the allegation against Tappin, in broad outline, was that he had participated in the conspiracy with another UK citizen, Robert Gibson, who operated an export business in Cyprus, and US citizen Robert Caldwell.

Others involved had not been named.

An investigation was launched by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation, using a shell company, Mercury Global Enterprises (MGE), staffed by agents pretending to be members of the business.