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Orpington's Christopher Tappin jailed over Iranian arms deal

PUBLISHED: 09:32 10 January 2013

Retired businessman Christopher Tappin, with his wife Elaine.

Retired businessman Christopher Tappin, with his wife Elaine.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Retired Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin was sentenced to 33 months in jail on Tuesday after admitting to selling weapon parts to Iran.

The 66-year-old, of Larch Dene, Farnborough Park, was extradited to America last February and reached a deal with US prosectuors - avoiding a potential 35 year sentence.

Tappin is expected to return to the UK to serve his jail time, though the final decision rests with the US Bureau of Prisons.

He must now turn himself in to start his sentence at the Allenwood prison, in Pennsylvania, by March 8.

Speaking as he left the court in El Paso, Texas, Tappin said: “As part of the agreement both the US government and the British government have promised to actively support my repatriation to Britain at the earliest opportunity.

“I look forward to returning home to be near my friends and family, and especially my sick wife.”

Formerly the director of Surrey based Brooklands Internation Freight Services, Tappin was accused of attempting to sell 50 Oxide batteries for Iranian surface-to-air missiles.

He claimed to be the victim of an FBI sting, fighting his extradition for two years.

His wife, Elaine, said she “can begin to see light at the end of this long dark tunnel” and described the whole expereience as “chastening”.

She added: “I’m hoping against hope that he’ll have the mental fortitude to cope with whatever lies before him in the months and years to come.

“Our enforced separation is hard, not only for Chris to bear, but also for me and our son and daughter.

“We are touched by the tremendous support we have received from friends and strangers alike, for which we shall be forever grateful.”

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