A British scientist languishing in an Argentine jail on suspicion of drugs smuggling blames honey trap involving a fraudster posing as a Czech-born glamour model.
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Oxford University graduate Paul Frampton has been held in prison since January after being stopped at an airport in Buenos Aires as he tried to board a plane to Peru with two kilograms of cocaine in his suitcase.
He claimed afterwards he was the victim of a honeytrap sting involving an internet model.
He has named the beauty – a 32-year-old Czech-born glamour model now based in the States – for the first time and spoke about his fears he may die in jail if convicted.
Mr Frampton said he thought he was swapping messages on a dating site with Denise Milani – but now believes members of a South American mafia tricked him into carrying a suitcase containing drugs by posing as the top internet underwear model.
Influential friends in the scientific community continued to fight for his release on bail on Monday as he faced up to the prospect of a 16-year-jail sentence if convicted.
Extraordinary details of the events leading up to his arrest emerged – including a 10 day stay in Bolivia waiting for Miss Milani to join him for the start of a new life together before his fateful trip to Argentina.
Worcestershire-born Mr Frampton, 68, awarded a BA degree with Double First Class Honours at Oxford, said: "Perhaps I should have realised earlier but the fraudster was very good and very intelligent.
"I never thought these sorts of people existed.
"For 11 weeks I thought I was chatting with an attractive woman."
Divorced Mr Frampton was arrested on January 23 at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, moments before he boarded a plane to Peru.
The drugs were found wrapped in gift paper inside the lining of the suitcase.
Mr Frampton claims he was given the suitcase at a hotel in Buenos Aires by a Hispanic-looking middle-aged man who told him it belonged to the model.
The scientist flew to Argentina after a 10-day stay in Bolivia where he thought he was going to meet Miss Milani, born Denise Trlica and who won 2007 'Miss Bikini World'.
He told an Argentine newspaper he planned to take the suitcase to Brussels in Belgium for a new meeting with his internet girlfriend – but was persuaded by a friend to book a flight back to the US and forget Miss Milani after 36 hours in Ezeiza Airport when the ticket failed to arrive.
There is no suggestion the model had any involvement in the drugs smuggling plot – or knew a mafia group was allegedly using her identity for honeytrap stings.
Investigators are said to have carried out psychological tests on Mr Frampton to rule out mental illness.
Mr Frampton, who is suffering from lung problems following his enforced stay in prison, admitted he may be suffering from a mental disorder brought on by his obsession with psychics.
The scientist's ex-wife has described him as being very "naive" emotionally.
He told respected Argentine newspaper Clarin from his prison cell: "The person I thought was this woman told me she liked older men and was tired of doing photo sessions.
"I fell for the story. Before my arrest on January 23, I was convinced I was chatting with a 'her' and after a couple of weeks in prison, I realised it was a man, a criminal posing as this model.
"'She' asked me if I could be proud of someone like 'her'. It was quite convincing.
"I found out I wasn't going to meet her in Bolivia as planned the day I got there.
"I should have returned to the States right then. But I always complete my plans, the same way I complete my physics papers. She was my project."
He added: "It didn't seem strange to me at the time that this person invited me to meet up with her in Bolivia.
"The idea was to go there and return with her a couple of days later to the place where I live."
Mr Frampton, who studied at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, is being held at Villa Devoto Prison in Buenos Aires.
The jail was the scene of some of the worst prison riots in Argentine history in 1978 which left 62 people dead.
Leading academics including 1979 Physics Nobel Prize winner Sheldon Glashow – who Mr Frampton has written more than a dozen scientific articles with – have written to the investigating judge in charge of his case to plead his innocence.
Several have also written a letter to Argentine president Cristina Kirchner asking her to intervene.
Mr Frampton, from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, was teaching at the University of North Carolina when he was arrested and his pay was suspended.Source