Airbus confirms staff quizzed in Saudi corruption probe

Aerospace, defence firm says four former and current employees have been interviewed by Serious Fraud Office

British fraud investigators have questioned defence officials and former and current employees of an Airbus subsidiary in connection with allegations of corruption in Saudi Arabia, the aerospace and defence company said on Wednesday.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which confirmed that unnamed individuals had been arrested over the weekend, launched a criminal investigation into allegations surrounding Airbus unit GPT Special Project Management inSaudi Arabia in August 2012.

The investigation hinges on allegations of bribery in connection with a $3.3 billion GPT contract to provide communications and intranet services for the Saudi National Guard, which protects the kingdom's royal family.

"Airbus Group understands that four former and current employees were recently interviewed - along with MOD (Britain's Ministry of Defence) officials - as part of a wide-ranging SFO investigation into subsidiary GPT," a spokesman said.

A spokesman for the SFO confirmed there had been arrests over the weekend but declined to comment on the number of people held for questioning or whether they were part of the investigation into the Airbus unit.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

Allegations of corruption are not new to the defence industry, where companies tend to use individuals or third-parties to help to broker deals to win lucrative contracts.

British and U.S. prosecutors are investigating allegations of bribery and corruption at Rolls-Royce Holdings inAsia. The aerospace and defence company has said it is cooperating with the inquiries.

While all serious fraud investigations are complex, they can also be highly political.

Under former SFO head Richard Wardle, the agency dropped an investigation into alleged corruption in a BAE Systems arms deal with Saudi Arabia in 2006 after an intervention by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Related:
Companies
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Is Africa's investment dream still on track?

Is Africa's investment dream still on track?

It was the new bright spot for global investors, but widespread...

Deal-making to drive 2017 Middle Eastern banking fee bonanza

Deal-making to drive 2017 Middle Eastern banking fee bonanza

Fees from the Middle East reached $581m during the first nine...

Accounting meets religion in challenge for Islamic banks

Accounting meets religion in challenge for Islamic banks

Reconciling accounting standards and religious principles is...

Most Discussed
  • 17
    Countdown to VAT: are Gulf businesses ready?

    I feel with VAT in place from 2018, retailers, SMEs will figure out ways of Tax-evasion as it happens in most of the developing economies unless authorities... more

    Tuesday, 14 February 2017 1:10 PM - Diya Pardasani
  • 16
    Dubai likely to lose 'shopper's paradise' status: S&P

    Increasing cost to operate business and reduced volumes compel importers, distributors, wholesaler and retails to work on higher margin to break-even... more

    Tuesday, 21 February 2017 1:24 PM - gvk
  • 10
    Dubai real estate: which way will it go?

    well the mortgage rates are going to go up even more as the US will increase rates so the central bank here will also have to increase proportionately... more

    Wednesday, 15 February 2017 1:28 PM - Bill
sponsoredTracking