This site was set up to detail the judicial review of the decision to end the SFO investigation into BAE-Saudi arms deals.
Now the judicial review has finished, the site will be left online for the record. It is frozen as of February 2009.
High Court reopens BAE-Saudi corruption investigation
24 April 2008
Campaigners win landmark ruling on BAE-Saudi corruption case
9 November 2007
US probe into BAE welcomed by CAAT and Corner House
26 June 2007
CAAT and Corner House respond to BAE revelations
12 June 2007
Challenge to refusal to permit judicial review
7 June 2007
Full grounds for judicial review lodged
20 April 2007
BAE admits to paying agent to investigate campaigners
18 April 2007
BAE defeated in court by CAAT
26 February 2007
Update on proposed Judicial Review
25 January 2007
Government's defence of the SFO decision received
19 January 2007
Legal challenge to decision to drop BAE corruption inquiry
19 Decemeber 2006
19 December 2006
Last night The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) began a legal challenge to the decision to drop the investigation into bribery allegations involving BAE Systems Plc in Saudi Arabia. Lawyers, Leigh Day & Co, acting on behalf of the two organisations, issued letters to the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister laying out their intention to judicially review the decision.
The basis for the legal challenge by the two NGOs is that:
CAAT spokesperson, Nicholas Gilby, said:
"The public expect BAE Systems to be subject to the same laws as the rest of us. But this decision shows that they are not. We are confident that this outrageous and unlawful decision will be overturned by the courts.
Susan Hawley, corruption expert at the Corner House, stated:
This investigation was always a test case of how serious the UK government is about meeting its international commitments on combating corruption. The government has clearly breached its obligations under the OECD Convention. If the decision not to investigate is allowed to stand, international efforts to fight corruption will be set back by at least a decade. Corrupt politicians and businesses around the world will be rubbing their hands with glee.
Symon Hill, CAAT 020 7281 0297 or 07920 037719
Susan Hawley, the Corner House 07940 827605
or Nick Hildyard, the Corner House 07773 750534
Notes to editors:
1. The Corner House is a not-for-profit social and environmental justice group. In 2005 it brought a successful claim for judicial review against the Department of Trade and Industry’s decision to weaken anti-corruption procedures following lobbying by BAE Systems and other defence and aerospace companies. See www.bailii.org
2. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
3. Article 5 of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions states that
Investigation and prosecution of the bribery of a foreign public official shall be subject to the applicable rules and principles of each Party. They shall not be influenced by considerations of national economic interest, the potential effect upon relations with another State or the identity of the natural or legal persons involved.
4. The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention was signed in 1997 and came into effect in 1999. It requires signatories to criminalise the payment of bribes to foreign public officials in international business transactions.
5. In June 2005, the OECD Working Group on Bribery evaluated the UK’s implementation of the Convention, and expressed concern at the potential for ‘national interest’ considerations to influence the decisions on investigations. The Attorney General assured the OECD that
none of the considerations prohibited by Article 5 would be taken into account as public interest factors not to prosecute.
6. CAAT and the Corner House have instructed Richard Stein and Jamie Beagent at Leigh Day & Co solicitors and barristers David Pannick QC, Dinah Rose QC and Ben Jaffey of Blackstone Chambers.
7. A copy of the letter sent to the Serious Fraud Office is available here [pdf 140kb]. A response is expected by 2 January. If no satisfactory response is received, CAAT and the Corner House intend to issue a claim for judicial review.