Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Man jailed for Sudan vehicle deal

Members of Sudan Liberation Army
About 300,000 people died in the Darfur conflict, the UN estimates

A millionaire businessman who illegally sold former military personnel carriers to Sudan has been jailed.

Andrew Jackson, 46, ignored repeated official warnings not to export the 15 amphibious vehicles to the African state, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Jackson, the owner of Doncaster-based military equipment supplier L Jackson & Co, pleaded guilty to knowingly contravening a trade prohibition.

He was jailed for two years and eight months and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

'Terrible conflict'

Steven Smithey, of Netherholme, Epworth Road, Haxey, Doncaster, who worked for Jackson, also admitted the charge.

The 28-year-old former trainee was sentenced to 35 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and given a 150-hour unpaid work order for sending three e-mails about the illegal transaction.

L Jackson & Co is one of the largest suppliers of used military equipment in the world.

Jackson committed the offences between January 2005 and March 2006.

Police raided his offices in March 2007, arrested him and seized his computers.

The court heard Jackson breached a UN-backed embargo to first ship £322,000-worth of Hagglund BV206s to Norway and then send them south.

Highly profitable

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: "Since March 2004 the British Government had restricted the supply of equipment with military capabilities to the Sudan in response to the terrible conflict taking place in that country, a conflict which may have resulted in the loss of over 300,000 lives and displacement of over two million people.

He said anyone convicted of contravening that restriction was likely to face a lengthy jail term.

The judge told Jackson he could not "ignore the number and quality of references provided to the court in your case".

"That makes your decision to flout the export law all the more remarkable," the judge said.

The judge said Smithey's involvement was limited to the three e-mails, "drafted, I suspect, with Mr Jackson standing over your shoulder".

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