So the US Department of Justice has launched an investigation of BAE Systems over allegations that it bribed Saudi officials to buy Eurofighter jets.
Does this open cans of globalized defense industry worms or what?
First of all, what is DOJ’s jurisdiction over a deal involving a sale by a British company to the Saudi government? BAE Systems PLC is based in London, while BAE Systems SSA is based in the US. Could the investigation be focused on the SSA’s role? Or could DOJ be focusing on the case because it possibly involves the transfer of Eurofighter parts made in the US and subject to the export control regime? I don’t know, but it’s a question that doesn’t appear to have a public answer at the moment.
Secondly, why just this deal. BAE Systems is being investigated around the globe in various ongoing bribery cases. What makes the Eurofighter scandal so special?
What about the Czech Republic, which is the scene of reports that BAE Systems bribed the government to buy the Saab/BAE JAS 39 Gripen fighter?
In Qatar, BAE Systems is being investigated for bribery in a transaction involving Pirahna armored vehicles.
In Romania, BAE Systems is under investigation for alleged bribery in the sale of frigates to that country.
Finally, in South Africa, the British government is inquiring about possible improprieties in the sale of BAE Systems Hawk trainer jets to Cape Town.