Exporters 'deceived DTI on sales of parts to Iraq'

Department of Trade and Industry officials relied on the honesty of exporters to give proper descriptions of goods destined for Iraq before deciding to grant an export licence, an Old Bailey court was told yesterday.

Alan Moses QC, for the prosecution, alleged that three senior executives with the Coventry- based engineering company Matrix Churchill deliberately deceived DTI officials by pretending there was a civilian use for machinery, parts and software specifically designed to produce fuses for explosives.

The result of 'that deception and that pretence' was that the DTI considered the export licence applications on a 'wholly false basis', Mr Moses said. 'The system depends on truthful information being given by the exporter. If the exporter wants to get round a ban on equipment designed for military use, there is a powerful incentive to say it's for civilian use.'

Matrix Churchill's former managing director Paul Henderson, 52, of Coventry; former sales director, Peter Allen, 46, of Leicester; and Trevor Abraham, 45, of Balsall Common, Coventry, all deny knowingly being concerned in the export or attempted export of prohibited goods between 1988 and 1990.

Mr Moses alleged said the three told DTI officials that the machinery they wanted to export was for 'general metalworking'.

'The truth is they knew the machinery and associated equipment was going to be used for military purposes. The DTI took the information provided by Matrix Churchill on trust.'

The court heard that Matrix Churchill was a member of the Machine Tools Trade Association. Mr Henderson attended an association meeting in January 1988, at which Alan Clark, then Minister for Trade was present. He told the exporters 'they should arrange in advance the non-military use of the machines with the ultimate consumer'.

By the end of 1988, the company was involved in multi-million pound contracts with a Chilean company to supply the fuse- making machinery to Iraq and provide training in Britain for more than 30 Iraqi engineers. If it failed to export the machinery it would be in breach of contract and lose money. So 'it was deeply important to Matrix Churchill that it obtain export licences'.

The trial continues today.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there