UK defense contractor accused of bribery

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Britain's largest defense contractor, BAE, paid a secret commission to win a contract with Tanzania. That's according to Britain's Guardian newspaper. The company is the largest foreign supplier to the Pentagon. It was investigated recently in connection with an alleged bribe to Saudi Arabia. From London, Stephen Beard has more.

STEPHEN BEARD: BAE, says the Guardian, secretly paid $12 million into a Tanzanian bank account controlled by Tanzanian middlemen.

They brokered a deal under which BAE sold a military radar system to the Tanzanian government.

The payment is suspicious, says the Guardian, because it amounts to 30 percent of the contract price — much larger than a usual legitimate commission. Britain's Serious Fraud Office is investigating.

Simon Hill speaks for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

SIMON HILL: The arms trade has a tendency to breed corruption wherever it occurs. In this context, it's imperative that the British authorities fully resource this investigation into BAE's dealings in Tanzania.

Last month, the British government canceled an investigation into allegations that BAE bribed Saudi officials. The British government had come under intense pressure from the Saudi royal family to halt the inquiry.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the London Bureau Chief, providing daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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