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BAE VOWS TO FIGHT CRIMINAL CHARGES

BAE SYSTEMS is facing corruption charges after the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) asked attorney general Baroness Scotland to prosecute the defence giant.<br /><br />BAE has been locked in talks with the SFO over bribery allegations, but has failed to agree on what charges it will admit to, or how much it will pay in fines.<br /><br />The group has been accused of bribing officials in South Africa, Tanzania, the Czech Republic and Romania to win contracts. BAE, which has always denied any wrongdoing, said it would go to court &ldquo;if necessary&rdquo;.<br /><br />A separate probe into BAE&rsquo;s dealings in Saudi Arabia by the SFO was dropped in 2006 after the government decided that national security was at risk.<br /><br />BAE admitted it had not always met &ldquo;high ethical standards,&rdquo; after an independent investigation last year.