Britain's top legal officer denies hiding alleged Saudi payments

Britain's top legal officer has denied claims that he concealed details of alleged secret payments to a Saudi prince over an arms deal from an international anti-bribery watchdog, the Guardian newspaper said Friday.

Britain's top legal officer denies hiding alleged Saudi payments
Britain's top legal officer has denied claims that he concealed details of alleged secret payments to a Saudi prince over an arms deal from an international anti-bribery watchdog, the Guardian newspaper said Friday.

The paper claimed that Peter Goldsmith, who is attorney-general with a seat in the cabinet, hid details from the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of alleged payments from British defence firm BAE Systems to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Goldsmith's office said the allegation was 'categorically untrue,' the Guardian reported.

The prince, a former Saudi ambassador to the United States, negotiated a massive 40-million-pound (76-million-dollar) arms deal with Britain in the 1980s.

In a statement Thursday, Prince Bandar 'categorically denied' receiving any improper payments, while BAE said it had acted lawfully at all times.

The alleged payments to the prince, which were made with the knowledge of Britain's Ministry of Defence, were discovered during a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation.

But the SFO inquiry into the so-called al-Yamamah deal was stopped in December 2006 by Lord Goldsmith, at the urging of the government.

The OECD subsequently launched its own investigation, which is continuing.
Last Mod: 08 Haziran 2007, 15:18
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