back to article Washington backing for Brit arms biz coming unstuck

The US authorities are definitely investigating allegations of corrupt practice by UK-based arms colossus BAE Systems, according to reports. The Guardian, the paper which has probed British arms sales to Saudi Arabia for over a decade, reports that a US investigation into BAE's conduct is imminent - along with the news that …


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  1. James Pickett

    At last

    Even HMG should now be able to see that the 'special relationship' was only ever in one direction. Shame Blair didn't realise this a few years ago...

  2. Martin

    Should clean their own back yard first

    While I could never condone bribery or any other form of corruption, I rather think the FBI and the US should leave BAE alone.

    Just how were the contracts in Iraq awarded again? Why was that never investigated? Maybe because certain high ranking political figures had money to lose?

    It's always easier find fault in others. The FBI should tidy up in America's home grown industry before it picks on other people's.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clean up any yard you can

    I agree "It's always easier find fault in others. " So FBI should nail BAE to the wall, hopefully with prison terms not just fines. Also the British should nail American firms to wall with prison terms not just fines. I don't really care who find the corruption in the arms industry as long as it is found and punished so as to discourage other from do so in the future.

  4. Phillistine

    This is a DOA-red-herring

    Do understand that

    1. BAE probably does business with half the countries in the world (the other half can't afford to buy the equipment)

    2. In the modern world of Globalisation, everything is connected, tat means there are far too many powerful on the other side of the pond who stand to lose their stock value and dividend income if such a investigation came to be.

    3. Even if there were indictments handed out, it would still be business as usual.

    4. Those countries whose officials were bribed also stand to fire those officials and the politicians will have to stop doing business with BAE just to provie to their constituents that they are 'clean'. That means many of the Connected Aristocrats on both sides of the pond stand to lose a big wad.

    Do you really think this birdie will really fly ?

  5. Jason


    Surely just another example of america thinking they are policing the world?

    "Also the British should nail American firms to wall with prison terms not just fines!"

    You really reckon America would allow that?

    If america can nail BAE to the wall, then that's one less arms dealer out there, and so more people have to start buying from America.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Title

    "more people have to start buying from America."

    Or China.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Do you really think this birdie will really fly ?"

    "Do you really think this birdie will really fly ?"

    To some extent that depends on whether the US think they have much to gain from cutting BAe out of the business. The vast majority of BAe's relevant business probably involves a significant proportion of "work share" or "offset" where BAe act as prime contractor and subcontract substantial parts of the work out to the likes of Boeing and what have you, ie that particular part of the picture may not change greatly for the US even with BAe out of the loop and replaced by a US prime contractor.

    UK employees of US-based companies will know that US law requires them to be indoctrinated into the workings of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but the smarter ones know that the rules only apply when the folks in charge want them to.

  8. Kwac

    Another inquiry that won't be completed

    The British Government stopped the inquiry when the Saudis threatened them.

    The US Government investigate Saudi Arabia - what a joke.

    Please remind me, what nationality were the twin tower bombers? Bin Laden comes from where?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just business

    The Bush republicans are obviously jealous of Britain's profitable use of arms sales to keep it's economy healthy and wants a bigger piece of the action. "But it's all private industry" you say? Military-industrial complex is what keeps Britain and US alive. that the black choppers I hear over my house? Gotta go now....

  10. Stuart

    "Do you really think this birdie will really fly ?"

    It will fly, but if BAE are making the bird it will be at least 5 years overdue and billions over budget.

  11. Hugh_Pym

    Re: Clean up any yard you can

    "Also the British should nail American firms to wall with prison terms not just fines."

    Don't forget that due to an International 'agreement' Brits can easily be extradited to face US 'justice' and have been on a number of notable occasions (often involving US big business). The US administration seems to have forgotten to sign their part of the deal. I wonder why?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just goes to show...

    ...why failing to stamp out corruption is wrong even when it might appear to hurt to do so. The other nation-competitors out there can use the corruption as a stick with which to beat BAe/the UK in future dealings. Bribery, sorry *hospitality* of the scale reported in the BAe/Saudi deal is plain wrong, and if that's what it takes to get the deal, we shouldn't be sniffing after it. Corruption is the scourge that is keeping Africa and the rest of the Third World in the Dark Ages and measures to reduce it will be undermined if we, the, "straight-dealing" (at least when it comes to financial regulation) West can't keep our house in order.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do I need a title?

    BAE won the Saudi business in the 1980s because of US unreliability as a supplier. Now it's payback time, but all they'll do is encourage the Saudis to get their arms from China or, even worse, France (!).

    As if US arms suppliers don't pay the requisite 'gifts' for their 'friends' in far-off places to persuade them to do business. They just don't get caught doing it!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BAE inquiry by USA authorities

    Thats got to be the joke of the century, one of the largest continents with a lame duck president, that has 1% rating in the polls.

    Just because he has an equivalent lame duck PM in the UK that thank goodness we are about to get rid of, is probably they only way this could happen.

    If we still had a PM that sticks up for Britain against American Stupidity, such as Maggie, she would have told them where to go.

    I can only laugh at a country with so much guilt, blood and corruption on its hands investigating its ONLY ally in the last few years, it beggars belief.

    Even in sorting out Saddam Hussien, diabolical as he may have been, America forgets they were mainly complicit in him being there in the first place.

    Also everything America does in the world is linked to economics, they think that promising military aid and other sorts of incentives is not bribery and corruption.

    The term "Look in the Mirror" before you start throwing rocks, what is Bush promising Chechoslavakia for letting him build his latest Phallic symbol in their country(Star War Protection Radar Defence system).

    Please, wake up and smell the coffee, more than half the world trades like this, if it were not for incentives(call them what you like) half the world trade would not take place and USA the same as UK would be a lot of jobs worse off.

  15. George

    Wait, there's a Serious Fraud Office?

    That begs the question, is there also an office of Humorous Fraud? How about one for Amusingly-Ineffective Fraud?

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