Ex-Marine Jailed Over Smuggling Sniper Sights To Iran

A former Royal Marine from Lincolnshire has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for attempting to export telescopic sniper sights to Iran.

Andrew Faulkner, 42, of Spalding, pleaded guilty to being involved in the exportation of controlled goods at Southwark Crown Court in London.

He was arrested after a shipment of 100 sights was intercepted at Heathrow Airport in February last year.

Faulkner had been due to be paid about £10,000 for his role.

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told Faulkner: "You put your own financial needs ahead of your responsibilities to your past and future colleagues in the Armed Forces."

Security consultant

The high-spec German-manufactured Schmidt and Bender sights, purchased for about £105,000, were due to be sold on for a profit of nearly £60,000.

Faulkner, who has worked as a security consultant and bodyguard since leaving the marines in 2000, linked up with Italian Alessandro Bon - who is facing separate charges in Italy - after meeting him while working in Dubai.

Prosecutor David Hewitt said: "It seems that in 2008 Alessandro Bon explored the possibility of exporting from the UK.

"The Crown suggest that this was done to lend an air of legitimacy to this business. It appears that he recruited the defendant to assist him."

Correspondence uncovered

Faulkner initially denied being aware that the consignment, labelled as hunting rifle scopes, was destined for Iran, via Dubai.

But he later admitted knowledge in a police interview after e-mail correspondence between himself and Bon was uncovered.

Mr Hewitt said Faulkner did not have a licence to export the scopes. Their distribution is restricted to protect troops from militia attacks, the court heard.

Former Royal Marine from Wisbech jailed after putting our troops in danger by illegal arms exports plan - News - Wisbech Standard

It was claimed in court that ex Corporal Andrew Faulkner, 41, agreed the exportation while grieving from the death of his 17 year-old rugby-playing son Jack, killed while driving without a seatbelt.
Faulkner denied a prosecution suggestion he was a Royal Marines sniper instructor, claiming his expertise was underwater, earning him a six-month Dubai contract in 2006 with Peacekeeper International.
He worked for the wealthy as a bodyguard, protected BBC correspondents in Afghanistan and had a modest business selling body armour to the media.

I vaguely recall an arms find in Basra where similar scopes were discovered and traced back to Iran.

They have also been used in Afghanistan.

How German sniper scopes secretly sold to Iran, were given to the Taliban and brought down a major Italian arms smuggling ring - unfreemedia.org - Middle East & N Africa

"You want to know where they found two of the sniper scopes, between you and me?" Bon said, according to a transcript of the call. "In Afghanistan ... They fired on German soldiers with two of the sniper scopes and the serial numbers were traced ... and the [German] police are investigating because they were in the hands of the Taliban ... I wonder what the hell they were doing in Afghanistan."


Book Reviewer
Firstly, what an utter tosser, and he richly deserves to go to jail, and get bummed by Mr Big in the showers while he's there, and secondly, what an utter tosser.
30 months (paroled in 6?) is hardly an exemplary sentence, more like a slap on the wrist. Not that I'm implying anything.....

He was a silly, greedy **** to get involved; either very cocky or very naive. Given the resources that several very competent intelligence agencies are devoting to thwarting Iranian ambition at the moment, anybody with a brain who hears the word 'Iran' gets up and walks away from the table.

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