Daily Echo: A wealthy Dorset businessman is today at the centre of an international investigation in which it is alleged he made millions of pounds illegally selling aircraft parts to Iran. Daily Echo (Dorset Echo)
By Martin Lea
A WEALTHY Dorset businessman is today at the centre of an international investigation in which it is alleged he made millions of pounds illegally selling aircraft parts to Iran.
Brian Woodford, 77, who owns the 100-acre Chalmington Manor estate near Evershot, is being sought by authorities in the USA to answer charges about the deals involving sensitive munitions technology made through his Singapore-based company Monarch Aviation.
Mr Woodford’s wife, Laura, 63, is being held in custody in New York after being arrested when she entered the country. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges but has been denied bail and is considered a ‘serious flight risk’.
But Mr Woodford, who divides his time between Dorset, Singapore and Texas, where he has a luxury home in Fort Worth, remains at large.
He is believed to be going by the name Abdullah.
Mr Woodford, who grew up in Evershot and attended the former Hardye’s School in Dorchester, bought 17th century Chalmington Manor in 1965.
The estate has its own airstrip and Mr Woodford once owned a collection of aircraft there.
It is understood he settled in Fort Worth when he owned a British trading company that did business with Bell Helicopter.