Arms dealer jailed for seven years for shipping thousands of AK47s to NigeriaGary Hyde oversaw the shipment of 40,000 AK47s, 30,000 rifles,10,000 9mm pistols and 32 million rounds of ammunition to the African nationHyde did not have a licence to partake in the deal between China and Nigeria
He then hid more than $1million – 620,460 – in commission payments
21:47 GMT, 5 December 2012
Jailed: Arms dealer Gary Hyde, 41, was found guilty of shipping weapons to Nigeria without a licence and then hiding his profits from UK authorities
An arms dealer who helped ship thousands of AK47 assault rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria has been jailed for seven years.
Gary Hyde, 43, moved the weapons without a licence and hid more than one million US dollars – 620,460 – in commission payments.
Hyde, from Newton on Derwent, near York, looked tearful as he was sentenced at
London’s Southwark Crown Court following his conviction for two counts
of breaching UK trade controls and concealing criminal property.
The deal between the two countries’ governments was lawful, but Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said middleman Hyde was caught out by his own greed.
He failed to apply for a licence to take part in the deal, fearing it would be refused, but also because he was attracted by the 'enormous profits' to be made, the judge said.
Hyde, who was supported in court by his family, legitimately ran and expanded wholesale business York Guns to the point where it employed 20 staff in 2003.
He helped broker various arms deals including some for the British Government.
But in 2006 he got involved in the deal between China and Nigeria which saw up to 40,000 AK47s, 30,000 rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols go to the African nation along with 32 million rounds of ammunition.
Prosecutor Mukul Chawla QC said: ‘This
case is about the shipment of huge quantity of guns and ammunition from
China to Nigeria in 2007.
‘That shipment, because it was being
partly arranged and organised from the UK by Gary Hyde, required the
permission of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills in the
form of a licence.
‘Mr Hyde, despite knowing that such a
licence was required, helped to organise that shipment without seeking
and obtaining the required licence.
‘This was not an oversight but, say the prosecution, a deliberate and calculated breach of the law.
‘In order to ensure that his illegal
activities were not drawn to the attention of the UK authorities he
placed, and thus concealed, the profits from this illegal trade in to a
bank account in Liechtenstein.’
Hyde was convicted after a retrial on
two counts of becoming knowingly concerned in the movement of controlled
goods between March 2006 and December 2007.
Arms trading: Hyde oversaw the shipment of 40,000 AK47s, stock image above, from China to Nigeria
Hyde was jailed for seven years at Southwark Crown Court, London, pictured, for two counts of breaching UK trade controls and concealing criminal property
He was also found guilty of one count of concealing criminal property between March 2006 and December 2008 after he hid the profits in a bank in Liechtenstein.
Hyde, who was of previous good character and served as a special constable for seven years, was also reluctant to apply for a licence lest the UK authorities discovered his tax haven account and his 'very substantial earnings', the judge said.
He told him: 'You got carried away by the enormous profits that could be made elsewhere and, it would seem, in some less responsible company.
'I accept you opened your account in Liechtenstein to reduce your tax liability in lawful ways but it was there conveniently for you to launder the money from this unlawful deal.'
The judge added: “Applying for a licence would have been easy. There was no evidence you would have got one, the question was never asked. I suspect you thought you would not.
'If you had, you would have also been concerned about the UK authorities finding out about your very substantial earnings.'