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UK arms-to-Iran suspect to face Texas court

Retired British businessman Christopher Tappin speaks to waiting media next to his wife Elaine before presenting himself at Heathrow police station in London on Feb. 24, 2012 to be extradited to the U.S. to face a charge of conspiring to sell missile parts to Iran. The 65 year-old denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the U.S. to Tehran via the Netherlands.

A retired British businessman is to appear in a federal court on Tuesday in El Paso after being extradited last week on charges that he tried to sell missile batteries to Iran in 2006.

Christopher Tappin turned himself in Friday after fighting extradition from the United Kingdom for two years. Two other men were sentenced in 2007 to 20 and 24 months in federal prison for their roles in the scheme.


Tappin, 65, faces charges over allegations that he offered in 2006 to sell specialized batteries for Hawk missiles for $25,000 to undercover American agents posing as Iranians.

 

UK suspect in Iran missile plot to be sent to US

The 65-year-old Tappin was denied a final appeal of his extradition last month and delivered to El Paso by federal marshals. His deportation sparked a debate in the U.K. over whether British and American citizens are treated equally under the two countries' extradition treaty.

Tappin faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted in the United States. He denies wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of a sting operation.

Dan Cogdell, Tappin's attorney in Texas, said he plans to aggressively push to have Tappin granted bail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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