BAE Systems Tells UK Fraud Office: See You in Court, if Necessary

 - October 26, 2009, 11:14 AM

After years of investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it would seek to prosecute BAE Systems “for offenses related to overseas corruption.” The alleged offenses have been widely reported to involve the sales of Gripen fighter aircraft to South Africa and their lease to the Czech Republic (BAE is a partner with Saab in the Gripen International company); a ground radar system to Tanzania; and two former Royal Navy frigates to Romania. BAE said that it is making considerable efforts to resolve “the historical matters under investigation by the SFO.” The company will deal with any issues raised in those proceedings at the appropriate time and, if necessary, in court.” In 2006, then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair halted an SFO investigation into BAE’s dealings with Saudi Arabia over the huge al-Yamamah contract for combat and training aircraft and support, citing the national interest.