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Monday, February 8, 2010

BAE settlement

BAE settles with U.S. over bribes to Saudis
BAE Systems has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over allegations that the company relayed $2 billion in bribes to Saudi princes in the 1990s. The company also agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to submit false statements to the U.S. government.

"The company very much regrets and accepts full responsibility for these past shortcomings," BAE said on Feb. 5.

BAE, the second largest defense contractor in the world, said it also agreed to pay nearly $50 million in fines to Britain's Serious Fraud Office. The police unit had been investigating BAE concerning illegal payments to officials in the Czech Republic, Romania, South Africa and Tanzania.

The company also agreed to plead guilty to a British charge of failing to keep proper accounting records in Tanzania. Executives said BAE has already implemented measures to prevent bribery to foreign procurement officials.

"The British government was up to its neck in this whole business," Vince Cable, deputy chairman of the Liberal Democrats, said. "Government ministers were almost certainly fully aware of what was happening."

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