Monday, November 26, 2007

Interesting that this hasn't yet been muzzled

US corruption investigators have gone behind the back of Downing Street to fly a British witness to Washington to testify about Saudi arms deals with the UK arms firm BAE Systems, the Guardian can disclose. In a hitherto secret move, Swiss federal prosecutors have also agreed to hand over to Washington financial records linked to the Saudi royal family.

The US is seeking - but has so far been refused - more than a million pages of documents seized from BAE, its bankers, Lloyds TSB, and the Ministry of Defence during an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the US, who says there was no impropriety about a £1bn payment he received for brokering arms deals with BAE, has hired a former head of the FBI and a retired British high court judge to defend his position. The British government has been attempting to block all investigations into payments from BAE to members of the Saudi regime.

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