( – promoted by buhdydharma )
According to this story in the Guardian, today, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia and former Prime Minister Tony Blair are in trouble. Apparently Bandar took a billion pounds as a bribe from the multinational defense contractor and arms producer, BAE, to pressure the British government into halting fraud investigations into BAE activities. Bandar is said to have threatened the British government that they would allow further terrorist attacks to take place in Britain if they continued investigations.
Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7” and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.
The Serious Fraud Office, no relation to the Ministry of Silly Walks, began investigating the fraud allegations regarding BAE and the Saudis back in 2004. BAE was said to have been funneling money to the Saudi royals in order to secure arms deals with them. The Saudis then blackmailed the British government with terrorist threats to halt the investigations.
Philip Sales QC, for the crown, said the government had “no other choice” but to stop the investigation as the Saudis were threatening to stop passing on intelligence about terrorists.
In sharp exchanges, the judge said the Saudi threat was to “stop the investigation or else”. He asked why that was that different from a villain seeking to avoid a 25-year sentence.
Sales said the Saudis were not villains in this case.
Moses replied: “The Saudis were not the villains, they were just protecting the villains.”
He found it difficult to understand, he said, why the British government did not explain to the Saudis – “a friendly and intelligent people”- that politicians could not interfere in a criminal prosecution. “Nobody said you can’t talk to us like that.”
Yesterday’s hearing laid out in detail the way in which BAE refused to cooperate with the investigators when ordered to identify the middlemen to whom they made undercover payments into Swiss accounts. One was named in court yesterday as the billionaire Wafic Said.
BAE was formed in the late 90’s from the merger of Marconi Electronic Systems, a subsidiary of The General Electric Compay, and British Aerospace. They are perhaps best known for their production of military aircraft, but are involved in most areas of the defense industry.
According to their website, BAE is a:
global company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems in the air, on land and at sea. We have strong positions in each of our six home markets – Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, UK, US – and have organised the business to reflect this.
3rd largest global defence company
6th largest US defence company
96,000 highly skilled people
Customers in over 100 countries
Annual sales exceed £15 billion*
Annual R&D exceeds £1.3 billion*
More than 100 new inventions every year
* On a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor for the whole of 2006
For more information on this case the Guardian has a file on BAE here: BAE files at the Guardian
For more info on the contracts between BAE and the Saudis see Al Yamamah
Hip hip hooray for real investigative journalism, courtesy of the good Brits at the Guardian.
Shrub and Bandar, no doubt having serious fraud talks in Crawford, 2002