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Mon 30 May 2011 12:56 PM

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UK launches probe into EADS, Saudi defence deals

Defence firm allegedly paid jewellery, cash in bribes to Saudi officials to net $3.2bn contract

UK launches probe into EADS, Saudi defence deals
The £2bn ($3.2bn) communications contract was one of the largest awarded in recent years by Saudi Arabia
UK launches probe into EADS, Saudi defence deals
Louis Gallois, Chief Executive Officer of EADS
UK launches probe into EADS, Saudi defence deals
UK launches probe into EADS, Saudi defence deals
Saudi military

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office is investigating claims European defence group EADS paid bribes to Saudi officials to net a £2bn ($3.2bn) communications contract.

A former employee of an EADS subsidiary told British newspaper The Telegraph he was sacked after revealing bribes including luxury cars, jewellery and briefcases full of cash were paid to Saudi officials to secure the deal.

A source at the SFO told the paper a preliminary investigation was underway into the claims, but declined to comment on the allegations.

"We take such allegations very seriously and we are looking at them carefully. It would be inappropriate to comment further while this process takes place," a spokesperson from the UK’s Ministry of Defence, which helped coordinate the contract, was quoted as saying.

The £2bn ($3.2bn) communications contract was one of the largest awarded in recent years and was to upgrade satellite systems used by the Saudi National Guard to protect the royal family.

A spokesperson from EADS said the company was also carrying out an internal investigation.

The claims are reminiscent of the long-running UK and US corruption probes into arms deals between defence group BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia.

The company was alleged to have made illegal payments to Saudi princes using a secret slush fund to secure the multibillion-pound Al Yamamah deal for Tornado and Hawk jets and a huge airbase construction programme.

The SFO dropped its inquiry in 2006 under pressure from the UK government, which was concerned about the impact of the investigation on political relations and future arms deals.

In February last year, BAE Systems agreed to admit two criminal charges and pay fines of

£286m to settle US and UK probes into the company, but stopped short of admitting to corruption.

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Dr Watson 8 years ago

It appears that the world runs on bribes & corruption, at every level.

Sport, Business, Governments, Politicians...everyone is at it.

Mr Holmes 8 years ago

In this region they even have specialwords for it, as it has and maybe continues to be culturally acceptable. A gift, a bonus but never a bribe.

Maybe the British Govt should grow up, get off its high horse and realise this is exactly how business is done, in most of the World whether it is right or wrong.

Often it is the only way to win these sorts of contracts. Which kept thousands of people in jobs and not claiming benefits in the UK or talent going overseas

If they don't want to get dirty, don't play in the mud!

Andy 8 years ago

What a load of rubbish…
This is not bribery; this is how business is done in the Middle East

Mirza 8 years ago

Its not a new phenomena, kick backs always there in business deals.

KF 8 years ago

Corruption, bribery etc is a worldwide phenomenon. It is operated by Governments & multinational companies ( Big Fish) individuals (small fish) everywhere. Gifts, goodwill gestures, arm twisting etc are all variants of this phenomenon. Recent notable cases, "say yes to existence of WMD's, and you will get a share of the loot in the aftermath" - Is that a secret?. The press/media can say different. They are to a large extent the mouth pieces of the Governments. Truth is often classified as "sensitive information" and barred from publication under the so called "National Security Acts" etc. So, people, do not be surprised with this news. The Serious Fraud Office will "Investigate" this. Some scapegoat will be found. There will be a publicity stunt, but the wheels of elbow greasing will keep on turning. They will never stop.

Abdillah 8 years ago

this is not acceptable act by all means of life in this region and every where. Have you seen any one admitting this wrong doing with pride.
Those people should be exposed and jaild inconvected. And getting the millitary factories running by any means is not an execuse for brits