By Izzy Lyons
Source: The Telegraph
A retired company boss who made £5 million from trafficking fighter jet parts to Iran in violation of Weapons of Mass Destruction controls has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Alexander George, 77, from Bristol ran a “calculated and cynical” operation where he shipped military items to Iran, including Russian MiG and US F4 Phantom parts.
Two others, Paul Attwater, 65, and his 66-year-old wife Iris, both of Telford, Shropshire, were handed suspended six-month prison sentences last month for sourcing aircraft parts from the US and shipping them to George’s companies in Malaysia and Dubai, which then sent them to Iran.
The UK operates a strict licensing regime to uphold international sanctions and to ensure military equipment and dual-use items, which could be used by both the military and civilian sectors, do not fall into the wrong hands.
An investigation by HMRC found that George was shipping the aircraft parts to Iran via companies he owned. He brought in the Attwaters to try and hide the smuggling operation further and they shipped dual-use parts, including those that they knew were restricted under Weapons of Mass Destruction controls, through their company.
Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “These three sold banned items that ended up in Iran. They didn’t care what these parts might be used for, as long as they got paid.
“This was a calculated and cynical attempt to undermine strict trade embargoes and internationally agreed controls.”
HMRC estimates that George made profits of more than £5 million and action to recover the money, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, will now follow.