A South Somerset businessman accused of selling apparently useless bomb detectors to security forces on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan has denied fraud at the Old Bailey.
Jim McCormick, 56, of Park Farm, Hambridge, allegedly raked in £50 million by trading devices destined for use in war zones around the world.
His ATSC firm, based at Sparkford, sold the devices for between £1,000 and £40,000 each, claiming they could detect not only explosives but drugs, ivory, diamonds and cash it is alleged.
McCormick had customers in Iraq, Hong Kong, Belgium, Kenya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Romania, it is said.
He and five others face a series of fraud charges relating to the sale of detectors over a five-year period.
McCormick appeared in the dock in London for a brief hearing last week, during which he spoke only to confirm his name and to enter formal not guilty pleas.
He denies three counts of making an article for use in fraud between January 2007 and July 2012, relating to the ADE650, ADE651 and ADE101 detection devices.
Judge Richard Hone QC granted him bail ahead of a trial on March 4 next year.
McCormick is subject to a 9pm to 6am curfew and has had to put up a £20,000 surety.
The remaining defendants were present in court but did not enter pleas.
They will be tried in a series of cases beginning in April and expected to conclude by August next year.
They will return to court for a further plea and case management hearing on December 20.
Businessman Gary Bolton, 46, of Redshank Road, Chatham, in Kent, is accused of raking in £1 million by making and selling around 2,000 GT200 detection devices in a separate case to McCormick’s.
He has yet to enter a plea.
Samuel Tree, 65, and his wife Joan, 60, of Houghton Road, Dunstable in Befordshire, along with Simon Sherrard, 49, of Hill Rise, East Finchley, in London, are accused of a similar scam to sell the Alpha 6 explosive device.
They all deny fraud charges.
A sixth defendant, Anthony Williamson, 57, of Montgomery Road, Gosport, Hampshire, has not yet entered a plea to one count of making or supplying the XK9 device for use in fraud. All the defendants are free on bail on conditions including the surrender of their passports.