POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 5:19pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 6:24pm
EL PASO — British businessman Chris Tappin was in El Paso Tuesday facing federal charges in connection with a scheme to illegally export parts used in Hawk surface-to-air missile systems to Iran.
Tappin's first appearance before a judge was scheduled at Federal Court for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday but the judge saw Tappin earlier than expected. The session lasted only about five minutes. Tappin's lawyer said the judge informed Mr.Tappin of the charges against him and his legal rights.
Upon conviction, Tappin faces up to five years in federal prison on the charge of conspiracy to illegally export defense articles; up to ten years in federal prison on the charge of aiding and abetting the illegal export of defense articles; and up to 20 years in federal prison on the charge of conspiracy to conduct illegal financial transactions.
Tappin calls the charges against him a travesty.
The bond hearing was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.