Oh dear. Here we go again http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6728773.stm A Saudi prince who negotiated a £40bn arms deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia received secret payments for over a decade, a BBC probe has found. The UK's biggest arms dealer, BAE Systems, paid hundreds of millions of pounds to the ex-Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The payments were made with the full knowledge of the Ministry of Defence. Prince Bandar would not comment on the investigation and BAE Systems said it acted lawfully at all times. The MoD said information about the Al Yamamah deal was confidential. Private plane Up to £120m a year was sent by BAE from the UK into two Saudi embassy accounts in Washington The BBC's Panorama programme has established that these accounts were actually a conduit to Prince Banda for his role in the 1985 deal to sell more than 100 warplanes to Saudi Arabia. The purpose of one of the accounts was to pay the expenses of the prince's private Airbus. David Caruso, an investigator who worked for the American bank where the accounts were held, said Prince Bandar had been taking money for his own personal use out of accounts that seemed to belong to his government. He said: "There wasn't a distinction between the accounts of the embassy, or official government accounts as we would call them, and the accounts of the royal family." Mr Caruso said he understood this had been going on for "years and years". "Hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars were involved," he added. Investigation stopped According to Panorama's sources, the payments were written into the arms deal contract in secret annexes, described as "support services". They were authorised on a quarterly basis by the MoD. The payments were discovered during a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation. The SFO inquiry into the Al Yamamah deal was stopped in December 2006 by attorney general Lord Goldsmith. Prime Minister Tony Blair said at the time it had been dropped because of national security concerns. Prince Bandar, who is the son of the Saudi defence minister, served for 20 years as ambassador and is now head of the country's national security council. Jane Corbin, from Panorama, explained that the payments were Saudi public money, channelled through BAE and the MoD, back to the Prince. The SFO were trying to establish whether they were illegal when the investigation was stopped, she added. And she said she believed the payments would thrust the issue back into the public domain and raise a number of questions. Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said that if ministers in either the present or previous governments were involved there should be a "major parliamentary inquiry". "It seems to me very clear that this issue has got to be re-opened," Mr Cable told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight. "It is one thing for a company to have engaged in alleged corruption overseas. It is another thing if British government ministers have approved it."