SFO set to chase BAE charges

Posted on 1 Oct 2009 by The Manufacturer

BAE Systems is reportedly set to face prosecution following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into allegations that the defence giant bribed foreign officials for contracts.

The allegations relate to contracts BAE won from Tanzania, the Czech Republic, South Africa, and Romania. The SFO began to investigate allegations that the company had paid millions to secure those contracts after a similar investigation into a 1980’s deal with Saudi Arabia had to be dropped in 2007 due to a potential breach of national security.

BAE is said to have missed a deadline last night to settle the new cases under a guilty plea bargain and the SFO will reportedly now announce this morning that it will seek prosecution under the 2001 Prevention of Corruption Act. BAE said it did not recognise the deadline.

The UK’s biggest manufacturer, which employs over 100,000 people globally, could have between £500m and £1bn confiscated, according to the BBC.

The final decision over whether or not BAE will have to face the charges will lie with the attorney general, Baroness Scotland.