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SFO prepares to charge BAE Systems

FINANCIAL TIMES

By Michael Peel and Jeremy Lemer

Published: September 30 2009 14:33 | Last updated: September 30 2009 14:33

EXTRACTS

Corruption investigators were on Wednesday poised to press criminal charges over BAE Systems’ arms deals as the long-running probe into one of the country’s most-politically charged cases finally comes to a head, the Financial Times has learned.

A prosecution would provide a final showdown in a bitter case in which BAE has fiercely contested allegations that it paid hundreds of millions of pounds of bribes to win business in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, South Africa, Romania, the Czech Republic and other countries.

The company is also under investigation by the US Department of Justice…

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UK Serious Fraud Office Says Talks With BAE Systems Continue

SEPTEMBER 30, 2009, 10.33 A.M. ET

LONDON (Dow Jones)–The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, or SFO, said Wednesday that it was still in discussions with defense giant BAE Systems PLC (BA.LN) over an inquiry into allegations of bribery and corruption.

The SFO, a government department that investigate allegations of serious and complex fraud, had never said there was a deadline in talks with the company, according to an SFO spokesman.

“There are still ongoing discussion between us and the company,” he said, adding that there would be no announcement Wednesday.

BAE Systems previously has faced accusations of bribery and corruption in its dealings abroad. In December, 2006, the SFO called off a two-year long probe of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia after the U.K. government raised concerns that it might jeopardize national security and antiterrorism cooperation with Riyadh.

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. The company previously has denied all allegations of bribery.

-By Jonathan Buck, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)207 842 8237; [email protected]

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