South African gets 5 years for extortion plot

AP News
Posted: Jun 23, 2011 9:44 AM
South African gets 5 years for extortion plot

A court says a South African businessman will spend five years in jail after pleading guilty to trying to solve his financial problems with a plot to extort millions from the U.S. and British governments.

According to court documents detailing Thursday's plea agreement, British and U.S. counter-terrorism agents launched investigations after Brian Roach, 63, sent letters threatening to unleash foot-and-mouth disease on Britain unless that country paid him $4 million. He said he would ask for more from the U.S. if his demands were unmet.

Prosecution spokesman Mthunzi Mahaga says Roach's age and the fact he did not carry out his threats were considered. Roach, who initially faced terror charges, could have been sentenced to at least 15 years for extortion.