Gun dealer sold 80,000 weapons in ‘illegal’ shipment

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An international arms dealer from Yorkshire was involved in the illegal trade of 80,000 guns and 32 million rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria and hid the profits in an offshore bank account, a court has heard.

Gary Hyde, 42, partly arranged and organised the shipment in 2007 of 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, 30,000 other rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols, plus the ammunition, a trial at Southwark Crown Court in London was told.

Prosecutors say the deal was illegal because it was partly arranged in Britain and Hyde had failed to get permission from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Opening the case, Mukul Chawla QC told the jury: “Mr Hyde, despite knowing that such a licence was required, helped to organise the shipment... without seeking and obtaining the required licence.

“In that sense the prosecution say he acted criminally...This was not simple negligence but was a deliberate and calculated breach of the law.

“In order to ensure that his criminality, his illegal activities, were not drawn to the attention of the UK authorities, he placed and thus concealed profits from this illegal trade into a bank account in Liechtenstein.”

Hyde, of Mask Lane, Newton on Derwent, near York, denies two charges under the Trade in Goods (Control) Order 2003 and one of concealing criminal property.

The jury heard that he received commission payments totalling about $1.3m (£841,609) for carrying out his part in the trade with his German business partner, Karl Kleber.

The pair acted as middle men between two Polish businesses acting for the Nigerian buyers and Chinese companies.

The trial continues.