British Court Convicts Arms Dealer for Selling Chinese Fighter Jets to Ghana without Valid License
… he made $4m from the sale
An international British arms dealer who sold military aircraft to Ghana without a valid licence has been sentenced by a British court after hardcore investigations conducted by the Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of UK.
The British Guildford Crown Court on January 31, 2013 sentenced Mr Christopher McDowell, 55, from Oxfordshire, to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 200 hours community service.
According to the HMRC in a statement February 1, 2013, Christopher McDowell who is also managing director of arms brokers Wellfind Ltd, made over $4 million from the unlicensed sale and shipment of two of four K-8 trainer/light attack Chinese jets from China to Ghana which was in breach of UK trade controls.
“McDowell was convicted of two counts of being knowingly concerned in the unlicensed supply of goods subject to trade controls contrary to Section 9 (2) of the Trade in Goods (Control) Order 2003,” it added.
The court found McDowell guilty of two counts of dealing in arms that were being supplied to Ghana without a valid licence.
Narrating the case, the HMRC said in June 2005, McDowell entered into an agreement with the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), to sell military aircraft to the Ghana Air Force and he intentionally ignored the requirement to have a licence.
It wasn’t until February 2007 that he submitted a licence application to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – by which time the first two of the aircraft were in the process of being supplied.
“With many years’ experience in the industry, McDowell knew what he was doing and illegally brokered the aircraft to Ghana without a valid licence. HMRC will find people who, like McDowell, decide to break the law and we are delighted that, after an extensive investigation, he has been brought to justice,” Peter Millroy, Assistant Director, HMRC was quoted in the statement.
McDowell is reported to have at least 25 years experience in the arms trade business
By Ekow Quandzie