Serious Fraud Office to probe EADS bribery claim

City A.M. Reporter
BRITAIN’S Serious Fraud Office is investigating allegations that European defence group EADS bribed Saudi Arabian officials to win a $3.3bn (£2bn) communications contract.

The probe centres on a contract awarded to GPT Special Project Management, owned by EADS, to provide communications and intranet services for the Saudi National Guard, which protects the Kingdom’s royal family.

“It is the case that the SFO are looking at it (the contract) but have been trying to keep it under the radar because it’s a sensitive issue,” a source said yesterday.

GPT Special Project Management is a subsidiary of Paradigm Services, a unit of Astrium, a satellite arm of EADS.

“Certain allegations have been made and these are being properly investigated,” an EADS spokesman said. The SFO declined to comment.

The allegations surfaced in employment tribunal proceedings and were made by a former GPT employee who claimed Saudi officials were given luxury cars, jewellery and large sums of cash from London accounts through intermediaries.

Tough British anti-corruption laws will come into force in July, but only for crimes committed after that date.