Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saudi Arms Deal

Inquiry Closes In On Secret Papers

David Leigh
Monday November 20, 2006
The Guardian

The Serious Fraud Office is on the brink of obtaining information from Swiss banks which may implicate the Saudi royal family in secret arms-deal commissions of more than £100m, sources close to the attorney general's office confirmed yesterday.

The SFO has been inquiring for three years, in some secrecy, into allegations of systematic corruption in international deals arranged by Britain's biggest arms company, BAE Systems.

But it was only this autumn that the Saudis, along with BAE executives and officials of the MoD's arms sales department, DESO, became aware of how much progress the SFO has made. Sources close to the Swiss say the authorities there notified two middlemen that access to their bank accounts was being sought.

One is believed to be a prominent Lebanese politician, the other a wealthy Syrian. A process of formal appeal by them has been taking place in Geneva. Legal sources said that the Swiss normally grant preliminary access in such criminal cases for accounts to be inspected. This would enable the SFO to trace any payments passed on to accounts belonging to the Saudi royals.

If you're willing to read the rest of the article, you can find it here.

I sometimes feel that Bush is somehow right to point out that Arabs are terrorists. The problem is that he's usually pointing off some 1000 miles NW.

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