The U.K. Serious Fraud Office said this week it is investigating possible bribes in Saudi Arabia by a company owned by European defense contractor EADS.
A former employee of Britain-based GPT Special Project Management Ltd reportedly said the company gave Saudi Arabian officials cars, jewellery, and cash to win a £2 billion communications contract.
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Foxley, a former employee of GPT, claimed he was fired after raising concerns about the possibility of bribes changing hands. His complaints were first reported by the Telegraph a year ago.
EADS’s £2 billion contract was for an upgrade to the satellite and intranet systems of the Saudi National Guard, a force of about 125,000 that protects the royal family.
Foxley reportedly told the SFO that Saudi officials were given the gifts by middlemen.
A source close to the SFO confirmed in June last year that a preliminary investigation was under way.
The SFO’s announcement this week was cryptic: ‘The Director of the Serious Fraud Office has decided to open a criminal investigation into allegations concerning GPT and aspects of the conduct of their business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’