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Expanding multi-country investigation into suspected bribery by BAE Systems to win arms deals

21.10.2008

Count arrested in jetfighter scandal

Mensdorff-Pouilly arrested en route to Austria. Foto: apa

Mensdorff-Pouilly arrested en route to Austria. Foto: apa

By By David Rogers

Aufzählung British Serious Fraud Office seize Austrian count. 
Aufzählung Count’s wife is ÖVP politician.

London. Austrian count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly has been arrested as part of an expanding multi-country investigation in Britain into suspected bribery by BAE Systems to win European arms deals.

The Serious Fraud Office interviewed Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly and another man on Sunday on suspicion of corruption, later releasing the pair on police bail to appear early next year. But the news emerged only yesterday in the British daily the Financial Times.

The arrests – which came after raids last month on a number of properties in Britain, Hungary and Austria – highlight the wide range of active probes still facing BAE in the aftermath of the scrapped investigation into its Saudi Arabian arms deals.

Investigators are probing whether Count Mensdorff- Pouilly’s company used money from BAE to bribe people in positions of power over arms contracts in countries including Austria and the Czech Republic.

British, Swedish and Czech authorities have been probing a Kc60bn (then worth 1.55bn Euros) 2001 agreement – later cancelled – to sell 24 Gripen fighters to the Czech military. The deal was done by a 50-50 joint venture between BAE and Saab of Sweden, which later took full ownership of the project. Harald Schuster, his lawyer, said the count was intercepted by the British authorities at the weekend as he travelled back to Austria from Glenshee, Perthshire, where he owns Dalnaglar Castle through a Hungarian company. He travelled with investigators for questioning to Carlisle in England, where the SFO has jurisdiction, with his chauffeur-driven car following in convoy.

Mr Mensdorff-Pouilly is married to ÖVP politician Maria Rauch-Kallat who is head of the party’s womens’ organisation.

SOURCE

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