October 1, 2009

Fraud office seeks to prosecute BAE

An anti-fraud agency in Britain says it intends to prosecute defense contractor BAE Systems for a series of alleged corruption issues.

The Serious Fraud Office said the case involves overseas corruption. The office said it would seek the attorney general's permission to move forward.

The Times of London reported Thursday that the contractor, the largest defense contractor in Britain, has been accused of bribing officials in the Czech Republic, South Africa, Romania and Tanzania.

The Times reported a plea agreement with a possible fine of $797 million was also under discussion.

BAE has been involved in numerous probes over questionable business practices, The Times said.

An investigation that drew considerable attention concerned the sale of 100 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

The investigation was halted by former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2006 for what Blair said were national security reasons.