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Michael Ranger sentenced for organising arms deals between North Korea and Azerbaijan


International arms dealer Michael Ranger was today found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of promoting the supply or delivery of hand held surface to air missiles and Beretta pistols to Azebaijan, contrary to arms embargos. He was sentenced to 3.5 years for the missiles and 2.5 years for the handguns, to run concurrently.

 Elspeth Pringle, Arms Brokering Lawyer for the CPS Central Fraud Division, said: "Michael Ranger is an established international arms dealer who knew full well that a licence for supplying weapons to Azerbaijan would be impossible to obtain. Accordingly, he tried to disguise his illegal dealings with false email accounts and by using a company registered in Hong Kong under the name of his girlfriend.

"Central to the case was whether Ranger intended to evade bans on supplying arms to Azerbaijan. The court heard that in email correspondence with his arms supplier in North Korea, Ranger boasted that he had been a guest of the Azerbaijani Government and was driven round in a Lexus limousine whilst on business there to discuss the supply of Man-Portable Infrared Homing Surface to Air Missiles. It also heard how he told the US manufacturers of Berettas pistols that he had secured orders from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations following a meeting with 'two people directly under the President' in February 2010. The jury agreed that the evidence clearly demonstrated Ranger's intention to disregard the embargos and duly delivered a conviction.

"Ranger's dealings with Azerbaijan were not only illegal, but potentially very dangerous. Arms embargos are in place for a reason and those who seek to ignore them in the hope of lining their own pocket should understand that they are liable to prosecution in the criminal courts."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. There is currently an arms embargo in place prohibiting the export of military goods destined for Azerbaijan. This was put in place in February 1992 at the request of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) because of a military conflict in a region known as Nagorno-Karabakh. The prohibitions extend not only to exports from the UK to Azerbaijan but also the trade/movement of by persons operating in the UK or UK citizens from any third country to Azerbaijan. This applies to Mr Ranger as a UK citizen attempting to supply arms to Azerbaijan from both North Korea and the US.
  3. Mr Ranger is an established international arms dealer who trades in the UK principally through a limited company, Imperial Defence Services, a legitimate business he has operated for many years. Records show that Ranger had not at any time obtained, or sought to obtain, an authorisation from the Department of Business of Innovation and Skills (BIS) in relation to the agreeing, or promoting, a supply of the weapons to Azerbaijan.
  4. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  5. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. In 2011-2012, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health (DoH) prosecution functions were transferred to the CPS. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  6. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  7. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.