BAE plays down reports of 1bn fine over ongoing bribe charges

BAE SYSTEMS yesterday played down reports that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had discussed fines of up to &pound;1bn over an ongoing bribery charge. <br /><br />&ldquo;BAE Systems&rsquo; view is that the interests of the company as well as all of its stakeholders, including the general public, are best served by allowing the ongoing investigations to run their course,&rdquo; a short statement from the defence group read.<br /><br />It added that it was working with regulators in their investigations, and urged a conclusion to the enquiries &ldquo;which, in the case of the SFO, are now in their sixth year&rdquo;.<br /><br />The SFO declined to comment on speculation that BAE had until Wednesday to plead guilty to bribery charges, which relate to the sale of equipment to the Czech Republic, South Africa and Tanzania.