The case of Mr. Tappin makes it quite clear that if you wish to do business in today's world, you should find out what extradition agreements are in
place with your country of residence and the USA. If it is the same as the UK, then you must must make yourself familiar with how to do due diligence
with any export/import activity you or your business engage in. Under American rules, you must ensure that any export is not going to anyone / country
the USA does not permit business with, this includes ensuring that even if you are just a delivery/freight guy that you satisfy yourself that the
company /people you are shipping to are not going to forward / re-sell to companies/people/countries on the disallowed list. In addition you need to
familiarize yourself with what is classed as controlled technologies. You should be aware this can also be files / software on your lap-top, so even a
visit to a trade show in the US could land you in trouble, regardless of your business.
Christopher Tappin is a Briton being extradited to the US for allegedly selling batteries for Iranian missiles described his treatment as "a
disgrace" as he arrived at Heathrow.
If Mr. Tappin pleads not guilty a trial might not start for years. It would bankrupt him as there is no legal aid or reimbursement of costs in the US
— he has already spent $65,000 (£41,000) on his American lawyer. He said that six British and Dutch defense witnesses would refuse to testify lest
they, too, were arrested.
The Bush and Blair governments agreed on the controversial US-UK extradition treaty in 2003 to facilitate the extradition of terrorists, but it has
since been deployed against all manner of people, from the industrial executive Ian Norris to the NatWest Three and the hacker Gary McKinnon.
It does not require the US to make a prima facie case against its target in a British court — a grand jury indictment suffices. A judge cannot rule
that the defendant should stand trial in Britain, even if that is where the alleged offence was committed. Provided that certain statutory criteria
are fulfilled, courts have little choice but to grant the extradition request.
Mr. Tappin ran a freight forwarding company, Brooklands International, and arranged the transport of anything from elephants to Tutankhamun’s
treasures. In 2006, Robert Gibson, a British client, asked him to ship five industrial batteries at a cost of $25,000 from Texas to an automotive
company in Amsterdam.
Per The London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association:
Unknown to Gibson, the vendor, Mercury Global Enterprises (MGE) of El Paso, was a front company set up by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
agency to entrap businessmen engaged in the illegal export of controlled technologies. Gibson was arrested that August when he went to inspect the
batteries. He was accused of attempting to send them to Iran for use in Hawk air defense missiles. Gibson named Mr Tappin as a co-conspirator, said
that they were to share the profits from the battery sales, and provided allegedly incriminating evidence. He was handed a two-year sentence.
Mr. Tappin insists he had no idea that the batteries were going anywhere but the Netherlands, or that they could be used in missiles. He said that he
was merely the shipping agent and that the exporter, MGE, had to obtain the export license.
Isabella Sankey, of civil rights group Liberty, said: "No British court has ever been allowed to examine any evidence against Christopher Tappin or
consider whether he should be tried here.