Tappin pleads guilty in US court

British businessman Christopher Tappin has pleaded guilty to selling surface-to-air missile parts to Iran in a court in America.

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Elaine Tappin: 'Plea deal is beginning of swift and safe return'

Christopher Tappin will be sentenced on 9th of January. In addition to the prison term of 33 months Tappin's plea deal includes a fine of $11,357.14 - the projected profit he stood to gain if his illegal activity had been brought to fruition.

He was originally thought to have faced up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

His wife Elaine, 62, said ahead of today's hearing that "however upsetting" a plea deal was, it marked the beginning of his "swift and safe return" to the UK.

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Solicitor: Tappin's guilty plea 'should come as no surprise'

Christopher Tappin's solicitor said his decision to enter into a plea agreement "should come as no surprise".

A statement said:

Ninety eight percent of people who enter the US Justice system enter into a plea agreement.

The odds are so heavily stacked against a defendant who chooses to plead not guilty and then is subsequently found guilty that the vast majority of people facing trial in the US opt to take a plea agreement. Therefore this decision should come as no surprise.

In addition the US Prosecutor has within his discretion the decision as to whether any custodial sentence can be served in the UK. If the US prosecutor declares following a conviction, that repatriation should not tkane place then it is almost impossible to obtain.

Lastly the legal fees in defending a case in the US are extremely expensive.

I hope that following this decision to enter into a plea agreement Mr Tappin will be able to return to the UK as soon as possible to rejoin his family.

– Karen Todner, Solicitor

Wife: 'All we ever wanted was Chris' swift and safe return'

In a statement the family of Christopher Tappin has confirmed the 65-year-old will attend court in Texas on November 1 when the "US Department of Justice will inform the judge of the basis of a plea bargain agreed by Mr Tappin."

The family statement continues: "Should the Judge accept the terms, there is likely to be a period of several weeks for pre-sentencing assessment before Mr Tappin is recalled to Court to hear the Judge’s sentencing."

From the moment Chris was put on a plane all we ever wanted was his swift and safe return. However upsetting, this is the beginning of that process. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst the Court has yet to establish Chris' fate.

– Christopher Tappin's wife Elaine

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