Extradited Briton Chris Tappin denied bail in US


A Briton extradited to the United States over allegations of arms dealing has been denied bail.

Chris Tappin, of Orpington, south-east London, was extradited on 24 February after claims he conspired to sell batteries for use in Iranian missiles.

A spokesman for federal prosecutors said bail was refused because Mr Tappin, 65, "posed a flight risk".

Mr Tappin's wife Elaine described the decision to keep him in custody as "heartbreaking" and an "outrage".

His lawyer, Kent Schaffer, told the BBC that an appeal would be launched against the decision not to grant bail.

'Shocked and disappointed'

Mr Tappin was escorted into the court by US marshals. He wore an orange jumpsuit and had his feet and one hand shackled - the other was left free so that he could use a cane.

Mr Schaffer said Mr Tappin would have complied with any restrictions and that his family was ready to post $50,000 bail (£31,600).

Associated Press news agency reported Judge Robert Castaneda had agreed that Mr Tappin could be monitored if released but decided not to grant bail because of a discrepancy in Mr Tappin's financial statement.

An official of the US Attorney's office said Mr Tappin's trial would take place before US District Judge David Briones in El Paso but that no date had been set.

Mrs Tappin said she was "shocked and deeply disappointed".

"He's a man of his word and is certainly not at risk of fleeing - where would he go? He doesn't have his passport or access to money," she said

Mrs Tappin questioned why Prime Minister David Cameron had not helped her husband.

"He's not a danger to anyone - he's a 65-year-old granddad. How is he supposed to prepare a proper defence when he's only been allowed to communicate with his lawyers from behind a plastic screen?"

A family spokeswoman said that Mr Tappin had told his wife that he had been shackled and confined in a cage for five hours before his bail hearing.

'Loss to understand'

Mr Schaffer said he expected the appeal to be filed this week.

"We will then get a hearing date to go back before a different judge," he said.

Judge Castaneda ruled that the financial discrepancy meant there was a risk of flight.

But Mr Schaffer said: "The financial statement is as plain as it can be. There's no discrepancy on it, there's no evidence to controvert anything.

"So we're still at a loss to understand what happened. In order to have a discrepancy there would have to be two competing documents, or some testimony to dispute what is on the document.

"There was no testimony that he failed to disclose anything. So we have no idea what the judge is thinking about. In 30 years of doing this kind of work, it just amazes me that this man is locked up."

The Home Office said it had no comment to make on the bail decision.

A spokesman said Mr Tappin was able to get help from the Foreign Office as needed but that the case was "now entirely a matter for the US courts".

Mr Tappin, a retired businessman, denies trying to sell batteries for use by Iran in Hawk missiles and says he has been the victim of an FBI sting.

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