back to article BAE chief exec, director detained at US airports

The CEO of BAE Systems plc, the controversial UK-headquartered arms giant, was detained by the US authorities after landing at Houston airport last week. A fellow company boardmember was also taken aside on arrival at Newark. The Financial Times reports that Mike Turner and non-executive director Sir Nigel Rudd had their …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Wow, what wonderful timing!

    Counter-Terrorism? Or just Industrial Espionage under the guise of "seeking the truth about BAe's dodgy deals"?

    Given the fuss last week about BAe allegedly passing on American secrets with out permission, what will happen now? The DoJ turn around and say "Look, those damn Limeys let *anyone* look at thier files!"?

    Maybe it is time we took a lead from the Brazilians actions a few years ago - following the "enhanced anti-terrorism measures" invoked post 9-11, the Brazillian Government demanded that they be allowed to subject American citizens to the same standard of treatment and checks - all passenger lists had to be communicated ahead of the flight being allowed to leave, American citizens were subected to the same sort of (mis)treatment handed out to Brazillians by US Customs staff, all American passengers had to have their bags searched etc.

    Since it is obviously acceptable for non-American business travellers to now be treated as terrorist suspects by the American C&I staff (this, and a couple of other recent stories on El Reg), perhaps it is time for all other nations to treat American business travellers the same?

    On the other hand, if the Americans are that sure that these men are guilty in some way of the crimes allegedly committed, why did they not simply refuse them entry as they do with most people they don't like?

    Oh, I know - that way they couldn't examine the laptops!

  2. Stuart Van Onselen

    The Yanks are just bitter...

    because they are prohibited by law from doing the same thing.

    Not that getting caught by the toothless US regulatory authorities is much of a problem. The problem is when one of your competitors finds out, and squeals on you for purely self-serving purposes. Such as making their own sale when you're disqualified.

    Which is the other reason that the Yanks are trying to torpedo the Brits' deal.

    All's fair in love, war and commerce. And it gets harder to tell the difference between the last two every year.

  3. Pete Silver badge

    doesn't look good

    Considering the fate of the "Natwest 3" who were banged up in an american jail for a transaction in the UK with a UK company that was legal here. Their crime? the payments touched a server in the US.

    However in the BAE case the yanks are screaming (well, some of their defence companies - which to all intents and purposes means the US govt) that they *might* have lost contracts. For that heinous crime (not of allegedly bribing someone) of getting caught, no doubt these paragons of virtue will no doubt demand Guantanamo Bay. Afterall it was a defence contract and it did affect the US national interest - stands to reason that they are therefore terrorists!

    Of course you could always hope that the british government will stand up for the rights of it's citizens - considering all the tax they received and the jobs that were created. However in the natwest case the govt. was noticable in it's absence of any kind of support for it's citizens at all. If the roles had been reverersed, far from rolling over and playing dead, the americans would probably have sent in in the marines.

  4. Ash

    I for one welcome...

    ... any process which strips this world of one more tycoon hoarding cash with no use for it, practically burning it away for no reason.

    Shame it wasn't a Pharmaceutical company CEO.

  5. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    ... yes - I know

    BA is not the same as BAe... but I do like the Brazilian approach...

    And of course, Icon for the "brazilian" comment

  6. Slaine
    Thumb Up

    payback for T5

    see title

  7. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Brain Drain....AI Psyphon

    "had their documents and personal electronic equipment "examined"" And if they have been "copied" for leisurely Third Party analytical examination is it blatant, and criminal Intellectual Property Theft?

    Definitely not Cricket, old Boy.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I'm sure there are quite a number of people who would like to see BAe's products get a good 'work-out' at T5... and I don't mean the stuff produced by (what remains of :-( ) their Civil Aircraft Division

  9. g e

    House of Saud

    Didn't the septics make some kind of deal in 1971 to protect and reserve the power of the House of Saud in exchange for having oil sales negotiated exclusively in USD?

    If that's the case then they're probably just being pissy about large arms deals being negotiated in non-dollar denominations and with non-yank co's. Maybe the UK/EU will start having some kind of alleged nuke arms race thing if too many dollar-deals start going Sterling/Euro and we'll get freedom bombed into us like they're warming up to with Iran...

    Or did I dream it all?

    Mine's the one with the big short-the-dollar Forex ticket in the pocket

  10. chris

    This made me smile a lot

    Next stop Gitmo you death-dealing scumbucket. Hope they checked for concealed USB sticks. Bet you were too dumb to encrypt your drive....

  11. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    Civil Aircraft Division

    ... Have you SEEEEEEEN all the big empty spaces in BAe Cha... oops - almost said something sensitive there. Suffice to say the equipment synonymous with the ability of nanny britain to manufacture things has been largely exported to India along with most of our call centres for when something goes wrong with them. Paris prefers Imports.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bitter ?

    The US is not bitter, they have recently agreed a $20 Bn arms deal with Saudi who always want US arms as first choice and have frequently been turned down. The US also has the number 1 position for successful prosecution of bribery and corruption against both US and International companies, the British tally stands at zero.

    It looks like the US doesn't like its banking system to be used for making questionable payments, running into $ Bn's, to foreign officials, who are based in the US.

    Worldwide there are some 8 investigations underway involving accusations that BAE used corrupt payments to win questionable contracts, several of which were to very poor countries, who didn't need the hardware. Its generally accepted that the ramifications of this case, which still has a long way to go, have been to make many company's both internationally and in the US much less inclined to use bribery as a sales tool.

    Pete London

  13. Andrew

    Good on them

    This is a company which makes billions by through illegal contracts to sell killing, death and war into the part of the world which, thanks to the West, has known little else for generations. They are then protected by the UK government, smelling the cash and surrendering to threats made by the scum of the earth, demonic 'Princes' and their demented, repressive regime.

    More power to any country that will give these assholes the treatment they deserve, no matter what their nationality or business. All US hypocrisy aside (and there's plenty of Americans who could do with a bit of the same treatment, perhaps starting with GWB and his handlers), the more abuse arms dealers get when travelling the world, the better.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just foreigners...

    Our gov't does this to its own citizens any time we go through border checks as well. Thank Bush & the police state fans for this.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    I suppose..

    that those of my age always associated such things with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? Oh how things have changed!

    (ps - all done in the name of freedom and democracy of course - paranoia does not feature in it all - twitch, twitch (?)) [but only the guilty have a guilty conscience?]

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Andrew - quite naive I think.

    The sentiment may be OK but when it comes down to it this is just a business move. The US companies lost out on the deal and are crying foul. It has nothing to do with any supposed (im)morality. If the deal had not gone to BAE it would have gone to a US company, but it still would have gone ahead.

    Good on BAE for getting one over for the Brits for a change.

    I once worked for a UK company that produced a Global leading item at a fraction of the cost of the US competitors. Naturally their salesmen were met with "why would I pay 1/2 mill when I can get better for 100K".

    The US solution where buying a competitor just to eliminate the competition is illegal? Buy the company, supposedly transfer the manufacturing and development to the US where there is no capability or knowledge. Offer engineering support with a 6 month waiting list.

    Result no one wants the new US manufactured units so the line closes, and the original ones at 1/2 mill are still being sold. Normal profit margins meant that the total exercise cost was probably covered by less than 20 units.

    Our governments reaction to this illegality - Isn't it wonderful that the Americans want our technology! Tosseurs!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NOT just the Americans investigating BAE...

    well, not originally. The Saudi deal also came under investigation here in the UK by the Serious Fraud Office, and they were, er, SERIOUS about it. Of course, here in the UK, they simply used their political bribes (er, pull) to get Tony Blair to squash the investigation just as it was beginning to produce results.

    What this implies is that this is not simply some Yanks moaning and squealing about not winning the business, but rather something that is beyond the pale. It is only that BAE don't have the political pull to kill the US investigation into their presumed wrong doing...yet at least.

    BAE certainly LOOKS dirty as hell, as do the Saudis, and the fact that they needed to kill the UK investigation is very telling. Let's hope the US does better at getting to the bottom of this...

  18. Graham Bartlett


    I have no problems with business, not even for arms. The issue with Al-Yamamah is that $1bn of bribes to individuals in the Saudi court (particularly Prince Bandar) provided that business, and that successive UK governments back to Thatcher were directly involved in this bribery. This makes Westland and other similar bribery scandals look like chicken-feed. Not only that, butTony Blair then stopped the investigation - no-one else would have the power to tell the Attorney-General to drop it.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am NOT a Tony Blair fan

    by any stretch of the imagination, but has anyone else here considered that maybe there *was* more to the (alleged) bribes than meets the eye? Mr Blair has never gone out of his way to make himself popular with the BAe management, so why would he stop the SFO investigation?

    As for the idea that the Americans are acting purely out of a sense of Justice For All over this, just remember which country has bankrolled suspect governments and (brave freedom fighters/evil terrorists)(1) the world over since at least the fifties...

    (1)What's the difference? Some people would say it depends on where you stand on the government they're figthing against. I'd say it depends as much - if not more - on *how* they fight - someone fighting an 'Evil Overlord' who blows up a bus full of school kids or plants bombs in crowded shopping malls is as bad as the Government they wish to overthrow (and it doesn't matter which part of the world they live in either; British, American, Iranian, Lebanese or Irish, deliberatly targetting civilians means they are just terrorists.)

  20. Chris G Silver badge

    much ado about nothing

    This is only about business, the yanks are pissed because they didn't get the deal( remember , American national security now is not about being infiltrated/ invaded by communists) and the SFO will get serious about anything that might get them noticed/ more staff/more money/ more tea... That's their job, being serious about things. when was the last time you saw a British cop not being serious about almost anything?

    It may not be the democratic way but a little oiling of the industrial wheels is normal in much of the world. When in Rome etc. Most people who are unhappy about BAe handing over a billion in readies are just jealous it wasn't to them. BAe is just unlucky it was found out by a lot of high ground moralists who if they thought they could get away with it would do exactly the same thing to win a huge contract. Get real, world!

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