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back to article BAE shares tank as US feds break cover

UK arms colossus BAE Systems is under investigation by US authorities for alleged corruption. According to The Guardian, BAE Systems last night received formal notification that the US Department of Justice was investigating "the company's compliance with anti-corruption laws, including the company's business concerning the …

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Anonymous Coward

Am I getting paranoid?

According to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", the Saudi's are the Americans favourite friends. If the Feds are investigating BAE you can bet your life there is some ulterior motive behind this.

Perhaps getting rid of BAE will pave the way for a US-Saudi arms deal in the future to the detriment of the British arms industry?

Maybe someone in the Whitehouse Administration is none too happy about the intended takeover bid by BAE of Armor Holdings and such an investigation could well scupper the attempt?

Maybe Mr Brown will look to sleeping with our European neighbours a bit more than Mr Blair who seems to be inclined to hop into the American bed at no more than a wave from the Whitehouse?

Oh dear, this conspiracy theorising is doing my head in.

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Silver badge

Special Relationship? You mean like a vampire?

Strewth.... when will someone tell Uncle Sam to FCUK off.

Excuse my French, but don't they have any manners. A Load of Bull in a China Shop is their Game and who wants IT from them?

I trust that is not Ambiguous?

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Bandar Bush in the frame

Lewis' comments are on the money. It is curious indeed that the DOJ is essentially attacking the Bush family's principle Saudi ally. Smells of serious internecine warfare to me. BAE might suffer the loss of a potential arms deal or ten, but the real blowback here is going to be when Saudi Arabia retaliates against their public embarrassment by cutting off intelligence co-operation in the War.

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Tom

Hmm

Their timing of this is obviously to make sure that Gordon Brown will stay as close to America as Blair was...

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Just obeying orders

So BAE executives may face criminal charges in the US for complying with a contract negotiated and agreed between the UK and Saudi governments...

I am the only one who finds this situation outragous? If the US want to press charges, surely the right people are the UK and Saudi government officials who did the deal? Surely the primary target should be a certain good personal friend of a G.W. Bush who recieved the money (allegedly)...

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Rendition

Too much to hope that Bush and Blair will have to be rendered extraordinarily to somewhere off the map for some hard questioning? Just dreaming - sorry...

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amanfrommars.

>Strewth.... when will someone tell Uncle Sam to FCUK off.

The British Prime Minister* did last Saturday on Doctor Who (and then had the President killed; which was nice).

Andrew

* Okay, it was The Master, but he was still Prime Minister of Britain at the time

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Anonymous Coward

its obvious but why worry?

Its pretty obvious to me that BaE are just a whipping boy on this one, i'm sure all of the American arms contracts have a similar degree of "special commissions", they wouldn't get the business otherwise.

my point is why are we bothered, its really stupid to sell weapons to foreign powers, because they more often than not end up pointed at you or your allies.

besides, is there a real need for it all, i would not shed one tear if the whole disgraceful business were to collapse, and i could then declare myself to be an engineer without hastily adding caveats.

apart from anything else, its a dreadful waste of much of the better end of engineering talent, both for them and for the economy; the skills learnt in defence are not applicable in mainstream electronics, so you get locked-in. Sure baE makes a fair profit, but a civil company employing that quality of staff ought to make a lot more.

enough

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Prime Minister Brown...

Going to be a tough one for him really. The US DOJ wants to investigate so will ask the powers that be in the UK and Saudi Arabia for documents. The question is if Brown will bend over and say "take me" whilst handing them over, or refuse to hand them over to the yanks.

I'd suspect that as the ex-chancellor he knows only too well how much dosh UK.plc gets from its deals with the Saudi's, he'll also know how much we ripped off the Saudi's and how much we'll make selling them 72 Eurofighters.

The US probably wants to investigate so the Saudi's pull out of the Eurofighter deal with BAE so start looking elsewhere (the US maybe?) for new fighters, but can they really afford to annoy them? Pretty much all the Saudi oil money is stored in $ in US banks, it would be quite easy for them to transfer it over to the UK and change it to £ or € and start selling their oil in €, which the US wouldnt like one bit.

So at the end of the day, the only people who can actually lose from this investigation is the Americans, Whitehall won't hand over anything which may implicate themselves, the Saudi's don't believe they have done anything wrong and I'm sure a gentle reminder in the ears about the "possible reduction in aid" to some countries will shut them up too.

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amanfrommars... spoiler warning?

Thanks. Just thanks. As an American eagerly awaiting the next season, I hope that the BAE investigation somehow finds dirt on you. And gives you cancer.

Seriously though, isn't this a case of one government (the US) taking out the trash for an ally (the UK)? Since the BAE is so firmly connected in the British halls of power, it seems to me like the FBI is acting as a third-party moderator here. Can you please return the favor by setting the Serious Fraud Office onto Halliburton for us?

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Anonymous Coward

War in Iraq: not about WMD, but about Euro vs petrodollar

"it would be quite easy for them to transfer it over to the UK and change it to £ or € and start selling their oil in €, which the US wouldnt like one bit."

One of the reasons Saddam had to go was his announcement in 2000 that Iraq's oil would be sold in Euros not petrodollars. The near-bankrupt state of the US and the dollar economy at that time, which isn't greatly different today, meant this was potentially an attractive move for many oil-rich countries (Iran included). Fortunately for the dollar, Dubya's friends intervened and sorted it. For now. But how long before oil is sold in a currency of China's choice? Then what next for the US?

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its obvious but why worry? - Get it right!!

"my point is why are we bothered, its really stupid to sell weapons to foreign powers, because they more often than not end up pointed at you or your allies."

Who else are they supposed to sell to, the UK Government go out tender and buy from the cheapest manufacturer, leading to poor quality products.

"the skills learnt in defence are not applicable in mainstream electronics"

What!! Thats a ridiculous statement, why would the principles be any different because its a defence product? Also its not just electrical engineers who work for BAE, there are mechanical, manufacturing, chemical even some civil. All of the work they do can be transferred to jobs outside the defence industry.

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Anonymous Coward

Actually, Halliburton isn't a bad comparison

Huge company with connections all the way to the top, effectively subsidised by the state. In the US' case, subsidies by atuomatically getting contracts after war or flooding, and being allowed to fix prices as suits. In the UK's case, being given great wads of cash every year, as well as the support of any minister travelling abroad functioning as a salesperson for british arms (Read "As Used On Nelson Mandela" for accounts by ex-ministers as to how they're ALWAYS briefed on arms sales, regardless of the purpose of the trip).

But the moral quandary around BAE surely would be mnore their wilful breach of international law in selling to groups that breach human rights?

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