Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Documents reveal that Blair urged end to BAE-Saudi corruption investigation

This won't be a big surprise to many people but just before Christmas the High Court published documents revealing that Tony Blair urged end to the BAE-Saudi corruption investigation.
Documents released in the High Court on Friday 21 December 2007 indicate that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into BAE's Saudi arms deals was dropped only after the then Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a personal minute to the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. They show that Goldsmith did not believe that the case should be dropped in response to alleged Saudi threats to withdraw intelligence and security co-operation.

The documents are a witness statement from the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Robert Wardle, and nine redacted (words and sentences excluded) typed-up letters between the Prime Minister and/or Cabinet Office (the government department supporting the Prime Minister) and the Attorney General (which superintends the Director of the Serious Fraud Office) dating from December 2005 to December 2006.

The documents were released during a 'Directions Hearing' at the High Court to prepare for a judicial review brought by The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against the UK Government's decision to cut short the SFO investigation into alleged corruption by BAE Systems in recent arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

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