UK firm bribed Saudi prince for arms sales
Published 14/03/2011 | 05:00
Europe's largest defence contractor BAE Systems PLC bribed Saudi officials in return for lucrative arms deals in Saudi Arabia, according to secret US diplomatic documents.
Britain's anti-fraud agency told a private OECD meeting in Paris in 2007 that it had evidence that British-based BAE paid more than £70m (€81m) to a Saudi prince with influence over a series of contracts for fighter jets with Saudi Arabia.
The Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) then-deputy director Helen Garlick told the meeting that other "substantial" payments were made to an unnamed senior Saudi official, according to the cable, dated March 2007.
BAE did not explicitly refute the cable's content yesterday, but said in a statement that no charges of bribery or corruption were made against the company.