Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bribes of Prince Bandar

Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the US, who says there was no impropriety about a £1bn payment he received for brokering arms deals with BAE, has hired a former head of the FBI and a retired British high court judge to defend his position. The British government has been attempting to block all investigations into payments from BAE to members of the Saudi regime.

British ministers are refusing to grant a six-month-old official request from the US department of justice for mutual legal assistance, in defiance of the UK's anti-bribery treaty obligations. This follows the suppression of Britain's own Serious Fraud Office investigation, which was abandoned last year on the grounds that the inquiry might jeopardise national security. The move, following Tony Blair's intervention, infuriated anti-corruption campaigners.

There was further uproar when the Guardian published the SFO's findings - that £1bn had been paid to Bandar with UK government acquiescence, and another £1bn had been sent to Switzerland to agents acting for other Saudi royals. Bandar, who was also presented with a new Airbus jet by BAE, does not deny receiving the money, but says it was for authorised purposes.

-US obtains Swiss records and flies in British witness in BAE investigation

No comments: