Sunday, March 24, 2019

Corrupt Practices Again Involving the Saudis

In 2006, Tony Blair’s government shut down an Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribes by BAE, Britain’s biggest arms company, in a military deal with Saudi Arabia.

Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, is under pressure to explain why his department has taken a year to decide whether to approve a prosecution in another corruption allegation against a subsidiary of Airbus, the European aerospace group. Since 2012, the Serious Fraud Office has been investigating allegations that GPT Special Project Management, the Airbus subsidiary, used illicit payments and gifts totalling at least £14m to win a £2bn contract to provide communications and electronic warfare equipment to the Saudis. The SFO started its investigation after a former GPT employee, Ian Foxley, blew the whistle on what he believed were corrupt payments being made through offshore accounts between 2007 and 2010.

The attorney general’s department has taken on average around three months in recent years to make decisions on approving prosecutions under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Two MoD staff and four former GPT executives have reportedly been interviewed by the SFO. Two former GPT executives are waiting to be told whether they will be prosecuted. The SFO has dropped investigations against two others.

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