London

British businessman jailed for Saddam Hussein kickbacks

A British businessman who made illegal payments to Saddam Hussein's regime has been jailed for six months.

Mark Jessop, of Bury Road, Chingford, east London, was told money he paid to the regime from 2000 until 2003 could have been used to buy weapons.

The man, 53, admitted breaching United Nations trade sanctions imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The kickbacks "provided money to the regime to spend as they wished on arms", Southwark Crown Court heard.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC ordered Jessop to pay £25,000 in costs and to pay £150,000 compensation to the Development Fund for Iraq.

Jessop's admitted 10 counts of engaging in activities to make funds available to the Iraqi government in contravention of the legislation implemented in 2000.

Military intervention

His medical goods supplier company, JJ Bureau Ltd, illegally paid 104,649 euros (£92,931) to benefit the regime so it could continue to trade with the country, the court heard.

The kickbacks, known as "after sales service fees", were paid into a bank account in Jordan.

The money was then forwarded to the regime, the court heard.

The Serious Fraud Office, which investigated the case, said a further 235,237 euros (£208,870) was to be paid to the regime but the transaction was halted because of military intervention in March 2003.

Jessop facilitated others to pay kickbacks, in addition to paying his own fees, the court heard.

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