Monday, November 20, 2006

Saudi Royal corruption

From The Australian, November 20, 2006, by David Leppard ...

SAUDI Arabia is threatening to suspend diplomatic ties with Britain unless Downing Street blocks an investigation into a £60 million ($148 million) "slush fund" allegedly set up for members of its royal family.....The Saudis, key allies in the Middle East, have also threatened to cut intelligence co-operation over al-Qai'da.

....The Saudis are furious about the Serious Fraud Office's criminal investigation into allegations that BAE Systems, Britain's biggest military supply company, set up the slush fund to support the extravagant lifestyle of members of the Saudi royal family. The payments, in the form of holidays, luxury cars including a gold Rolls-Royce, rented apartments and other perks, are alleged to have been paid to ensure the Saudis continued to buy from BAE under the Al-Yamamah military supply deal.

Al-Yamamah, meaning "the dove" in Arabic, is the biggest military contract in British history and has kept BAE in business for 20 years. British police have arrested at least five people during the course of the investigation. These include BAE's managing director of international programs, Peter Wilson, and Tony Winship, a former company executive who oversaw two travel firms that are alleged to have been conduits for the corrupt payments. Both deny any wrongdoing.......

The Sunday Times

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