UK & World News
Christopher Tappin 'To Plead Guilty' In US
A retired British businessman extradited to the US over charges he sold weapons parts to Iran is expected to change his plea to guilty.
Christopher Tappin is accused of conspiring to sell batteries for Iranian missiles and faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted.
But American prosecutors said the 65-year-old will now appear in court on Thursday to re-enter his plea - just four days before his trial in Texas is due to start.
Tappin, from Orpington, Kent, is currently on bail in the US.
The former president of the Kent Golf Union has always denied attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles that were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.
No details of any plea deal with Tappin have been released but other extradited Britons say they had no chance of being cleared once sent to the US as the plea bargaining system empowers prosecutors as "judge, jury and executioner".
David Bermingham was one of three bankers jailed for 37 months over an Enron-related fraud in a deal with US prosecutors in 2008.
He said in March that no sane defendant would risk dozens of years in jail when a plea bargain could enable them to be home within months.
Plea bargaining is common in the US, with defendants often able to secure a more lenient sentence if they admit an offence and co-operate with prosecutors, rather than contest the charges in a trial.
Bermingham, of Goring, south Oxfordshire, said in March: "A prosecutor can now effectively be judge, jury and executioner.
"He can say, 'I'm going to charge you with 98 different counts, each carrying a five or 10-year maximum sentence, and potentially you could be sentenced to literally the rest of your life in prison'.
"And there's no parole. There's no two ways about it. However, if you are willing to plead guilty, 30 years becomes five years."
US prosecutors often quote maximum sentences, rather than the most likely jail term, for each offence, in part to act as a deterrent to others.