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Old 12-16-2006, 04:16 AM   #1
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Imagine if it was a terror financing probe...

Quote:
Downing Street yesterday bowed to pressure from Saudi Arabia and forced the Serious Fraud Office to abandon its investigation into alleged bribery of Saudi officials by BAE Systems.

The investigation had embarrassed the Saudi royal family, on whom the alleged £60 million bribes were supposed to have been spent, and threatened a new £10 billion defence deal awarded to BAE by the Kingdom.

Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, told the House of Lords yesterday that the SFO would have needed a further 18 months to complete its investigation into BAE with no certainty of being able to make a case.

He said that he had spoken to the Prime Minister and the heads of the intelligence services and concluded it was in the national interest to stop the investigation.

He told the Lords: “They [the PM and others] have expressed the clear view that continuation of the investigation would cause serious damage to UK/Saudi security, intelligence and diplomatic co-operation, which is likely to have seriously negative consequences for the UK public interest in terms of both national security and our highest priority foreign policy objectives in the Middle East.”

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP who has followed the case closely, said: “If ever there was a final nail in the coffin of this government’s reputation this is it. Coming a fortnight after the Typhoon threat from the Saudis this destroys Britain’s reputation for good governance.”
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:50 AM   #2
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When he was elected Tony Blair promised to get the sleaze out of politics. He's recently become the first British PM ever to be interviewed by police (over the 'cash for honours' scandal http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6179911.stm) and now this.......
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:51 AM   #3
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LONDON (AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended the dropping of a fraud probe into BAE Systems’ weapons deals with Saudi Arabia, insisting it would have been “devastating” for Britain’s interests to continue.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) last month stopped an investigation into claims that giant British defence firm BAE established a slush fund for some members of the Saudi royal family. The fund allegedly provided perks including luxury cars while the company attempted to secure a contract in the 1980s.

Blair advised Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith that to continue would have been against Britain’s national interest. The investigation into the Al-Yamamah BAE Systems deal from the 1980s was stopped after two years.

“There is no doubt whatever in my mind, and I think of those of any of the people who have looked at this issue, that had we proceeded with this, the result would have been devastating for our relationship with an important country with whom we cooperate closely on terrorism, on security, on the Middle East peace process and a host of other issues,” Blair said Tuesday.

“And that is leaving aside the thousands of jobs that we would have lost, which is not the consideration in this case, but nonetheless I’ll just point it out.”

BAE last year secured a 10-billion-pound deal with Saudi Arabia for 72 Eurofighter jets, and the deal was reportedly under threat due to the SFO investigation.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070116/wl_uk_afp/britainsaudidefence
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