Tappin to plead guilty

Christopher Tappin with his wife Elaine Photo: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A retired British businessman extradited to the United States will admit his guilt over arms dealing charges today.

Christopher Tappin will plead guilty when he appears in court in El Paso, Texas, this afternoon in an agreement with US prosecutors.

Christopher Tappin leaves a federal court in El Paso, Texas, with his lawyers Credit: Juan Carlos Llorca/AP/Press Association Images

But even if the deal is agreed by senior US district judge David Briones, it is still likely to be several weeks before he is sentenced for conspiring to sell batteries for Iranian missiles.

The former president of the Kent Golf Union has previously denied attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands, saying he was the victim of an FBI sting.

Plea bargaining is common in the US, with defendants often able to secure a more lenient sentence if they admit an offence and co-operate with prosecutors, rather than contest the charges in a trial.