Saudi prince received arms cash

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Blogg, Jun 7, 2007.

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  1. Oh dear. Here we go again

    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."
  2. it's always been done this way , so whats the problem ?
  3. Because of the small matter that, thanks to the very Government that stopped the investigation, the payment of bribes has been illegal in the UK since 2002.
  4. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Looks like some journo has got some more information.

    Guess the Middle East just got a v difficult place for the UK to sell to again :roll:

    BBC clicky here

    Anyone know much much business UK companies will get cut out off because of this? My guess - a minimum of a 8 figure sum.

    Well done, Panorama.
  5. Been known about for years. Just a rehash. Doesn't mean that BAe shouldn't be severely slapped, though.
  6. Panorama don't care...because there will always be a need for intelligentsia whether airframe fitters, electronics technicians or under-carriage engineers are extinct or no...yeah right!

    The thing is, the programme will be politically motivated yet it is being broadcast on the BBC. Who would no doubt offer a BAESYSTEMS spokesman the right to reply but that would take the form of a confrontational interview, conducted by a hitman for the stop the arms trade lobby.
  7. Why, for signing up to a deal set up by the then government
  8. Since the Saudis paid for a good deal of this kit,with oil,whose sale was channeled through UK MoD,maybe these payments were 'commission' on those oil sales?It will be interesting to see what spin is put on these matters now?

    Oil revenues in Saudi are regarded as belonging to The House of Saud(at least there).Prince Sultan is a senior member of that family.In one sense,the Saudis Royals are just getting their money back.
  9. It's being presented as an ongoing deal - stretching back many years to Thatcher and before. Thus (it is said) the new legislation brought in by this Government in 2002 does not apply.

    That is entirely debatable, of course. When the legislation was brought in, the Government and MoD were aware of the Al Yammamah deal and the long term implications. No exemptions were shown or drafted in the legislation, so the immediate implication is that they all hoped the deal (and others) would remain secret. That's compounded by the Attorney General's decision not to continue on the basis of 'national security' - and one wonders what he meant by that.

    The questions, as always, are who knew about this and what did they do, and who will be the fall-guys - if any?
  10. No, for general deviousness in all their dealings. They have to operate according to a set of ethical guidelines (edit to add: and laws) just as every other exporter of British goods does. BAe, along with BP and probably quite a few other outfits undermine our argument whenever we accuse foreign barstads of being devious and corrupt. Mind you, for the value of goods in al Yamamah and subsequent deals, I'd be tempted. But then, I'm a devious b occasionally, and won't lecture them too hard.
  11. Night follows day

    Ursine creatures habitually defecate in arborial zones

    Tony Blair has been known to issue terminological inexactitudes

    Saudi Prince receives arms cash

    ....Are we supposed to be surprised? It's what they DO.
  12. Saudi's have "ethical" guidelines; No brown envelope full of cash? No contract! If BAe hadn't someone else would have.
  13. Very true, it is simply a cost of doing business in the are. Equally is some one in our goverment takes a bribe it is our money that is being stolen, but in absolue monarchies such as KSA it is the chaps who get the kickbacks money in the first place, so they pay you money to get is back, never realy seen the point of it really, other than that seems to make them happy.

    My other observation is that clearly if one competitor offers an 'inducement' and gets the business obviously his 'inducement' is improper, but if all contractors are told that they must as part of the contract pay an 'inducement' whoops we are back on a level playing field, no unfair advantage has been obtained
  14. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    It must be just I the only person who read that headline and thought

    << Which one DIDN'T >> ?

    The Al Yamamah deal has been a target for the Right On-inclined both in this administration and in the Broken Biscuit Biscuit Corporation for years because

    A) It was pushed through with the vocal and energetic support of the then Prime Minister, the Left's favourite dreaded arch demon Margaret Thatcher.

    B) It is an arms deal [cf comments elsewhere about Labour's visceral unease in coping with anything that remotely smacks of violence and destruction rather than fluffy cuddly pinkness - which entrenched mindset is why the idea of Gordon Brown enthusiastically promoting a replacement nuclear deterrent just rings so FALSE to me]

    Le Chevre

    ( quondam arms dealer to the South Asian Carriage Trade, viewings by appointment only)
  15. French, I was desperately trying to follow your cryptic post but got stuck on line two.
    "Ursine creatures habitually defecate in arboreal zones"...whats that then, 13 across?