Man jailed over £3m Iran deal

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A Burwell businessman who flouted sanctions on Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction programmed by exporting £3 million worth of equipment has been jailed for two and a half years.

Gary Summerskill, 54, of High Street, sent three shipments to Iran via Hong Kong and Azerbaijan despite Government warnings.

He later claimed that the valves were destined for Iranian oilfields and his company Delta Pacific Manufacturing would otherwise have gone bust.

Summerskill, who built up the firm after leaving the Royal Navy, was told by Judge Paul Worsley QC at the Old Bailey he had “put money before the law.”

He told him: “You decided to put money before the law. It is sad to see someone like you in the dock. You are a hardworking, industrious and otherwise wholly honourable man. You have built up your company from scratch but that has all crumbled as a result of your commercial decision to put the success of the company above your duty to comply with the law. I bear in mind the items were not dangerous in themselves but you were alerted they could play a part in Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Summmerskill’s company, which made a profit of around £250,000 on the exports, was fined a total of £225,000. Both admitted three charges of being knowingly concerned in the export of controlled goods.

Summerskill’s barrister Mark Shelley said his client was exporting valves to the oil industry but having been told some should not be exported he went ahead to save his 17-employee company from bankruptcy because he had lines of credit and had made borrowings in order to pay for the valves.