York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire arms dealer 'arranged gun shipment'

A British-based arms dealer helped organise the shipment of thousands of guns from China to Nigeria without the necessary licence, a court has heard.

Gary Hyde partly arranged and organised the shipment in 2007 of 80,000 rifles and pistols and 32 million rounds of ammunition.

Southwark Crown Court heard he did not receive permission from the relevant government department.

Mr Hyde, from Derwent near York, denies the charges.

The court was told the shipment involved 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, 30,000 rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols.

Profits 'concealed'

Prosecutor Mukul Chawla QC told the jury his actions were a "deliberate and calculated breach of the law".

"In order to ensure that his criminality, his illegal activities were not drawn to the attention of the UK authorities, he placed and thus concealed profits from his illegal trade into his bank account in Liechtenstein."

Mr Chawla said the shipment required permission from the relevant government authority because it had been partly arranged and organised from the UK by Mr Hyde.

The prosecutor told the jury Mr Hyde had made a statement through his solicitor in November 2009 which said: "I do not believe that I engaged in any activity in the UK which I understood required a licence but where instead I decided to ignore that obligation."

Middle men

Mr Chawla said: "The prosecution case is that the claim that he made in November 2009 is palpably false and that Mr Hyde deliberately engaged in activity within the UK which required a licence."

Mr Hyde carried out his part in the deals with his business partner Karl Kleber, a German national based in Germany, the court was told.

The pair acted as middle men between two Polish companies acting for the Nigerian buyers and Chinese companies, the court heard.

Mr Chawla said commission payments for the deals totalled around $1.3m (£840,000).

The trial continues.

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