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Jailed businessman Christopher Tappin to complete sentence in the UK

The former freight company boss found guilty of selling missile batteries to Iran returns from the US to serve the remaining 14 months of his sentence.

A retired British businessman who was jailed in the US for selling weapons components to Iran has returned to the UK to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Christopher Tappin has served over half his 33-month sentence in Pennsylvania and he will now serve the remaining 14 months at a prison in the UK.

The 66-year-old was extradited to the US last year and eventually pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the illegal export of defence articles under an arrangement known as a plea bargain with US prosecutors.

In addition to his custodial sentence, Mr Tappin was fined £7,095 in January.

A US District judge then recommended that the Briton be allowed to complete his sentence in the UK.

His lawyer, Karen Todner, appeared to confirm his return on Twitter.

She told the BBC, “For six weeks while his repatriation was being approved, he was moved to the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York, a prison which is teeming with rats and run by gangs.

”Mr Tappin is an upstanding, proud man and he told me he just tried to stay in the background there.

“After that, his hands and feet were shackled while he was taken to JFK Airport to be flown home. His family are relieved he is back, particularly as he suffers chest problems.”

The father of two had previously denied trying to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to the Netherlands, and then on to Tehran, the Iranian capital.

He later admitted that, between December 2005 and January 2007, he knowingly aided and abetted others in an illegal attempt to export zinc/silver oxide reserve batteries, which form part of the Hawk Air Defence Missile, to Iran.

Mr Tappin, the former director of Surrey-based Brooklands International Freight Services, was originally thought to have faced up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

He had attempted to fight his extradition, and took his case to the European Court of Human Rights, in a final effort to stay in the UK. He failed and was taken to the US last February, spending a couple of months in a New Mexico jail before being released on bail.

His case has reignited the row over the fairness of the extradition treaty between the two countries.