U.S. follows up on BAE scandal

Stephen Beard May 19, 2008
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U.S. follows up on BAE scandal

Stephen Beard May 19, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

Britain’s biggest defense company, BAE, says it’s cooperating with an anti-corruption investigation in the U.S. Two of the company’s most senior executives were temporarily detained by American authorities last week. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: The two BAE executives were held briefly at Houston Airport. They were searched and issued subpoenas before being allowed into the U.S.

The news is acutely embarrassing for the British government. It shows the U.S. pursuing a corruption case which Britain abandoned. The U.K. had been probing the allegations that BAE paid millions of dollars in bribes to the Saudi royal family. But the British government pulled the plug on those enquires after the Saudis threatened to scrap an arms deal with Britain and to stop sharing intelligence with the U.K.

Vince Cable is a spokesman for Britain’s Opposition Liberal Democrat Party:

Vince Cable: It is a national disgrace that in this country, a major criminal investigation was stopped in order to protect commercial interests. Whereas in the United States, the prosecutors are being allowed to get on with their job.

BAE and the Saudis deny the bribery allegations.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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