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U.K. defense firm accused of bribery

Stephen Beard Oct 1, 2009
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U.K. defense firm accused of bribery

Stephen Beard Oct 1, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: Analysts are saying it would be the most explosive prosecution of British corporation. The U.K.’s biggest defense firm, BAE, is expected to be charged today with bribery, at the request of British fraud investigators. Stephen Beard has more from London.


Stephen Beard: BAE is the fourth-largest supplier to the Pentagon. Today, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said it wants the U.K. government to prosecute the company for corruption.

BAE’s been accused of paying millions in bribes to win contracts overseas. Among the countries involved: Tanzania, the Czech Republic and Romania. The Serious Fraud Office is reported to be seeking a fine of up to $1.5 billion.

Chandra Krishnan of the anti-corruption group Transparency International welcomes today’s move:

Chandra Krishnan: I think this will send a very important, wider message that bribery doesn’t pay and it has serious consequences. And I think it’s very important that we now have full judicial scrutiny of these cases and that we get to know the truth.

He says Britain’s enforcement of an international anti-bribery convention has been weak. There have been only five cases here over the past decade, compared with 120 in the United States.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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