Shipbrokers linked to defendant in arms case: Arms-exporting executives to appeal against convictions as Scott inquiry is told Jordan 'fronted' for Iraq,
In a case which could prove similar to the Matrix Churchill affair, four former executives of Ordtech, a Reading military engineering company, are appealing against their convictions for exporting parts for an artillery assembly line to Iraq.
They admitted their guilt, but following the production of documents on the orders of the judge in the subsequent Matrix Churchill case, they are appealing.
In a move that has heightened suspicion of Government collusion in arms sales and the existence of a cover-up, lawyers for Customs and Excise, which prosecuted both trials, are refusing to release official documents which could help their case.
One of the four, Colin Phillips, was formerly a director of International Shipbrokers, a London-based firm, and its parent, Anlon. On Tuesday, before it went into private session, the Commons Public Accounts Committee was told that four unnamed firms of shipbrokers accounted for more than 87 per cent of the MoD charters during the Gulf war. The firms were chosen from an 'approved' MoD list. Inquiries have revealed that one of the four was International Shipbrokers.
An executive at the company said last night: 'We were involved in the chartering of ships for the Gulf.' He refused to discuss the firm's role or Mr Phillips any further, saying: 'There are certain things I am not prepared to go into.'
Mr Phillips was fined pounds 1,000 in February last year for supplying an artillery fuse assembly-line to Iraq in 1989. The machinery was to be used by Space Research Corporation (SRC), the company controlled by Dr Gerald Bull, the Iraqi supergun designer.
Mr Phillips and three other defendants were arrested in December 1991 over a contract between the Reading-based Ordtech and SRC in Belgium.
The charges centred on five container-loads of equipment bound for the supergun project. Mr Phillips's co-defendants included Stuart Blackledge, a former SRC employee, and John Grecian. Both Mr Blackledge and Mr Grecian passed details of their activities to MI6.
At Reading Crown Court, all four admitted to conspiring together and with others to exporting the assembly line.
Mr Phillips was cleared of a second charge of conspiring to export sets of components for the fuse.
The court was told false invoices were used to export the fuses in 1989. Mr Phillips's three co-defendants received suspended prison sentences.
The defendants in the similar Matrix Churchill affair were more fortunate. Their trial collapsed, following the release of official documents and an admission from the former Defence Minister Alan Clark that he knew what they were doing.
Prior to becoming a shipbroker, Mr Phillips served in the Army under a senior executive of Hogg Robinson, the Government freight agent for 120 years and the company responsible for overseeing MoD charters to the Gulf. Members of the Commons Public Accounts Committee have been highly critical of what they described as Hogg Robinson's 'cosy relationship' with the MoD.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Budget 2015: George Osborne to axe subsidies for higher income earners in social housing
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...