British Court Faults Government for Halting BAE-Saudi Corruption Investigation

[New York Times] Julia Werdigier and Alan Cowell - The High Court in Britain on Thursday ruled that officials investigating accusations of corruption in a multibillion-dollar arms deal involving Saudi Arabia and BAE Systems, Britain's biggest weapons maker, acted unlawfully when they dropped the inquiry under pressure from British and Saudi authorities. The ruling renewed pressure on the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to reopen the investigation into the relationship between BAE and the ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia. The SFO announced in December 2006 that it was halting the inquiry after Prime Minister Tony Blair said the investigation would threaten thousands of British jobs and affect diplomatic and intelligence ties with Saudi Arabia. Two judges ruled that the government and the SFO had "failed to recognize the rule of law" when bowing to pressure by Saudi officials. Since the inquiry was abandoned, BAE has won a $8.7 billion order from Saudi Arabia for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes.

2008-04-11 01:00:00

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