Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Very British Affair

So, it seems BAE had paid Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, ex-Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, whose face and name became familiar to all of us in days following the 9/11, upto $120 million a year, in bribes.

Well, we knew that. That's not news. The Serious Fraud Office in UK wanted to investigate, but dropped the case after the Government stepped in. That's also old news.

What should make us pause and think, however, is what Tony Blair said in justifying why the investigations should be dropped.

He said that if the SFO investigation into BAE had not been dropped, it would have led to "the complete wreckage of a vital strategic relationship and the loss of thousands of British jobs".

Vital Strategic Relationship with a corrupt, repressive and undemocratic Saudi regime, one must note. Also, of course, protecting British jobs justify bribing and securing contracts under the table - for our comfort.

Strategic Relationship is more valuable for rule of law, it is okay to bribe if that protects jobs, it is great to sponsor corruption - that's the message we get. And, perhaps, also that very British message - Do Not Embarass.

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