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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 13:44 GMT
Missile case businessman cleared
Surface-to-air missile
Mr Bukhari was cleared of agreeing to sell surface-to-air missiles
A businessman has been cleared of agreeing to sell Colombian guerrillas more than 20m worth of weapons, including surface-to-air missiles.

The case against Syed Bukhari, 46, of Hendon, north London, collapsed when the prosecution was unable to comply with a ruling by the trial judge.

Mr Bukhari was arrested in an FBI sting in which an agent claimed he was acting for the leftist Farc movement.

He denied entering an arrangement to make weapons available for terrorism.

The trial's collapse is understood to have occurred after the defence asked for an FBI document to be disclosed, a move with which the American agency was unwilling to comply.

In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said the prosecution had made a Public Interest Immunity application, seeking to prevent the disclosure to the defence of sensitive information in the case against Mr Bukhari.

It added that once the judge had rejected the application, the prosecution decided it was unable to fulfil its "disclosure obligations" and consequently chose not to proceed with the trial.

Undercover agent

Richard Hallam, Mr Bukhari's solicitor, said his client was "delighted" with the outcome.

Mr Hallam said: "At an early stage in this trial, prosecuting counsel made clear to the court that it was not the Crown's case that the defendant was a terrorist sympathiser or involved in terrorism or a supplier of weapons to terrorists.

"Mr Bukhari has always denied committing any offence in relation to the matters which were subject of investigation."

Earlier in the trial, the prosecution outlined how FBI agent David Sullivan had posed as an illegal arms trader acting for the Farc.

It was alleged that the arms to be supplied to the undercover FBI agent included 200 surface-to-air missiles, which were shoulder-launched and capable of destroying an aircraft in flight.

The prosecution also claimed Mr Bukhari had agreed to supply enough rocket-propelled grenades to equip a battalion of 900 to 1,000 men.

Legal experts believe the case shows what difficulties can arise where a foreign law agency is involved in an operation inside the UK.

Man denies missile sale charges
17 Jun 05 |  London

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