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UK Businessman Convicted of Selling Fake Bomb Detectors to Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi security inspect the wreckage of a car bomb in the Aziziyah, south of the Iraqi capital on April 16, 2013, killing four people. (AFP)

Iraqi security inspect the wreckage of a car bomb in the Aziziyah, south of the Iraqi capital, on April 16, 2013, which killed four people. (AFP)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A British businessman has been found guilty of fraud for selling thousands of fake bomb detection devices to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and several other countries.

A jury found Jim McCormick, 57, guilty on three counts of fraud. He could potentially be sentenced to an eight-year jail term next month.

McCormick is said to have made over USD 76 million by selling the fake bomb detectors in the Iraqi market.

However, experts said the hand-held devices, which were sold for up to GBP 27,000 pounds (USD 41,000) each, in fact lacked “any grounding in science” and were “completely ineffectual as a piece of detection equipment.”

The detectors, which are based on a novelty golf-ball finder and could be bought in the US for less than USD 20, were still being used in Iraq as recently as last month.

Speaking to a pool of reporters outside of court, Detective Superintendent Nigel Rock labeled McCormick a “conman,” and emphasized that the “device has been used and is still being used on checkpoints. People using that device believe it works. It does not.”

During his trial, McCormick said he had sold his detectors to police in Kenya, the prison service in Hong Kong, the army in Egypt and border control in Thailand. They were also sold in Niger and Georgia and between 2008 and 2010; Iraq bought 6,000 devices at a cost in excess of USD 40 million.

Aqil Al-Turehi, an Iraqi interior ministry official told the BBC: “This gang of Jim McCormick and the Iraqis working with him killed my people in cold blood.”

McCormick will be sentenced on May 2.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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