Briton accused in Iran missile scheme released from U.S. custody

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 25, 2012 8:29 PM
Briton accused in Iran missile scheme released from U.S. custody

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A federal judge in Texas released British millionaire Christopher Tappin from custody on Wednesday, but ordered him to remain in the state while awaiting trial on charges he attempted to sell missile parts to Iran.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Castaneda ordered Tappin to surrender his British passport after going through the security checkpoint at the El Paso airport for a flight to Houston, where he will live with one of his attorneys, officials in the U.S. Attorney's office said.

The judge urged Tappin to follow court rules that include monitoring of any e-mail and he stay within five minutes of his attorney's home in suburban Houston. He will wear an electronic monitor so officials can track his whereabouts, they said.

Tappin, 65, of Orpington, Kent, was required to put down $50,000 cash to secure his $1 million bail, the U.S. Attorney's office said. He is charged with attempting to buy 50 batteries for Hawk surface-to-air missiles and ship them to Iran.

Tappin, who has pleaded not guilty, was extradited to the U.S. in February following a lengthy legal battle. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

(Editing By Corrie MacLaggan, Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)