Keith Mitchell defends 'Military Export Control' breach

Photo by USAF Photostream

Photo by USAF Photostream

Keith Mitchell advised and appeared on behalf of Jason Teal (Managing Director, Armour Products International) who admitted breaching BIS export controls by selling military grade equipment to Arab Governments and US Companies.

Jason Teal and Glynn Jones sent hundreds of bullet-proof body armour and helmets to Iraq and Kuwait among other destinations. Jason was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and ordered to pay £30,000 towards the cost of the prosecution. A confiscation order in the amount £9,000 was also made. Jones was sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment suspended for 2 years on condition that he completes 200 hours unpaid work in the community. Jones was also ordered to pay £9,000 towards prosecution costs.

Teal and Jones were  employees of a body armour supplier who knew it was against the law to export military-grade items to various destinations without authorisation from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

HMRC investigators obtained evidence from Teal and Jones’ computers which showed they knew they were breaking the law in order to secure orders to supply body armour for commercial gain. The value of  these unlicensed supplies was in excess of $6,000,000.

After the case, Prosecutors and Investigators gave statements to the press. Peter Millroy, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:

“Teal and Jones knew the law and were determined to circumvent it simply to make money. Export controls exist for a reason and HMRC will investigate and bring to justice anyone attempting to break the law .”

Elspeth Pringle, prosecutor for the CPS Central Fraud Group, said:

“Export licences are a vital tool for ensuring that military equipment is not misused in conflict zones. Jason Teal and Glynn Jones knew this from their experience in the business, but they tried to deceive the authorities just so they could fulfil orders in time. They flouted the law for the sake of profit - this was both selfish and reckless. It is impossible to know where the armour they passed on to others to sell has ended up.

“The sentences today reflect the seriousness of knowingly and willingly ignoring the licensing regime. Mr Teal and Mr Jones knew the law and their responsibilities. This is the price for ignoring both.”

[For further information see our post on Sanctions, Embargoes and Trade Restrictions here:]

Trinidad and Tobago: Andrew Mitchell QC's Success in the Mora Ven Inquiry

Andrew Mitchell QC successfully responded to a second abuse of process application in Trinidad this week at the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court.

Dr. Persad, an oil expert, was a director of MOVL and chairman of KPA. On 20 June 2002 two cheques were drawn in favour of KPA on MOVLs’ accounts at Scotiabank signed by him and ostensibly Mac Harris. One was for TT $1,456,000 (US$ 235,890.55) and the other for US$ 827,000. Each was credited to KPA’s account. MOVL’s chairman, George Nicholas, reported the matter to the police. After a lengthy investigation, they declined to lay charges. Andrew Mitchell QC was instructed to advise and lead a private prosecution.

On 20 August 2010, the defence argued that the Prosecution had failed to disclose a letter from MOVL’s auditors which was material. The letter purportedly showed that Persad had not intended to appropriate funds, except to clear off MOVL’s indebtedness to Krishna Persad & Associates (KPA).

Senior Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan ruled that a Preliminary Inquiry will continue on September 13 in order for the court to determine whether a prima facie case could be made out against Dr. Persad to stand trial before a judge and jury. He said:

“I find no merit in this abuse process application and therefore I dismiss it. This Preliminary Inquiry is ongoing, the processes of the hearing are still open and live to receive further evidence, further cross examination, further arguments and submissions”.

Andrew will return to Trinidad and Tobago next month.

Download the Privy Council decision in Nicholas v Persad to learn more about the background of the case here:

Advice on Sanctions, Embargoes and Trade Restrictions

One of the most interesting areas of work which we undertake is in the giving of advice about trade restrictions, sanctions and embargoes to firms in the UK and overseas. UK firms ask for advice about navigating the control lists, the Export Control Act 2002 and the associated Export Control Order 2008, especially schedules 3 and 4 (dual use and countries and designations subject to stricter export and trade controls).

Our overseas instructions are often concerned with export and re-exports to areas of the world subject to sanctions, whether certain goods breach those restrictions and what liabilities may occur if manufacturers' goods find their way into restricted areas. The recent increase in cargo inspections at certain key ports and tighter rules on transactions with banks from territories subject to renewed sanctions have caused many more firms to pay closer attention to the instruments that purport to give power to inspections and licensers; a number of export firms are suffering huge losses and want advice about how to stay on the right side of export controls whilst maintaining as much trade as permissible. Our asset freezing knowledge has also helped companies and individuals who have had their accounts frozen pursuant to UN resolutions.

We can offer advice to UK and foreign companies because of our direct access license our ability to accept instructions form overseas clients. See here and here.