Written by Felix Minderbinder
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Wednesday, 12 December 2007

image for British and Saudi Arms Scandal Astounds World
Eurofighters in bribery scandal

LONDON (FMLiveWire) - The massive BAE weapons bribery scandal enveloping the British Government and the Saudi Arabian royal family continues to astound the world.

American investigators have tweaked the nose of Downing Street by flying a British witness to Washington to testify about the illicit Saudi arms purchases from UK weapons maker BAE Systems.

Swiss federal prosecutors will also give Washington financial records linked to the Saudi royal family and senior politicos in the British government.

The former Saudi ambassador to the USA Prince Bandar freely admits he received a £1bn payment for fixing the arms deals with BAE.

British ministers are still blocking a 6-month old official request from the US department of justice for assistance in their investigation, in defiance of the UK's own anti-bribery law.

The US is also seeking more than a million pages of documents seized from BAE, its banker Lloyds and the British Ministry of Defense, by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the British government. Yet the British government has been blocking all investigations into the payments from BAE to members of the Saudi regime.

This continuing obstruction by the British government follows the squashing of Britain's own SFO investigation by Tony Blair, who killed it last year since the inquiry might endanger national security and British politicians.

The Guardian newspaper revealed the SFO findings that £1bn had been paid to Bandar with Blair's approval and yet another £1bn had been sent to Switzerland for Saudi royals, which recipients claim was "to cover dry-cleaning costs." Bandar also received a new Airbus jet from BAE, supposedly to fly his clothing about to be dry-cleaned.

Peter Gardiner, who has invoices detailing payments made by BAE to the Saudi royal family, was brought by FBI agents to Washington in August to give testimony.

Washington is now receiving records obtained by Swiss prosecutors into the government money-laundering operation. BAE's secret payments were centered on Geneva.

The head of the SFO investigation has confirmed that it was his request for details of Swiss payoffs which led to the death of the investigation.

Britain's Vince Cable, the acting Liberal Democrat leader, has indicated of the US investigation into BAE, "The anti-bribery treaty which Britain has signed requires prompt and effective response to requests for assistance. Their response to the US is neither prompt nor effective."

The appalling scandal has now enveloped the new British government of Gordon Brown just as it did the former government of Tony Blair. Both governments have maintained they were merely assisting Saudi dry-cleaning.

-Copyright Felix Minderbinder Live Wire

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