PARIS --- BAE Systems today (June 7) denied on any wrongdoing after British media reports alleged that it paid more than 1 billion pounds ($2 billion) to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan in connection with the Al Yamamah contract with Saudi Arabia.
The Guardian newspaper and the BBC both reported that Sultan, who was the Saudi coordinator for Al Yamamah and subsequently Saudi ambassador to the United States, was paid £30 million every three months by BAE Systems for at least ten years, with the knowledge of Britain's Ministry of Defence.
"The MoD is unable to comment on these allegations since to do so would involve disclosing confidential information about Al Yamamah and that would cause the damage that ending the investigation was designed to prevent," the UK Ministry of Defence said in a June 7 statement.
The statement refers to an investigation of the Al Yamamah deal by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, which was halted in December by Prime Minister Tony Blair on national security grounds.
BAE Systems said in a statement that "The Al Yamamah programme is a government-to-government agreement and all such payments made under those agreements were made with the express approval of both the Saudi and the UK governments."
"We deny all allegations of wrongdoing in relation to this important and strategic programme."
"All the information regarding the Al Yamamah contract in our possession has been made available to the Serious Fraud Office over the last two and a half years and, after an exhaustive investigation, it was concluded, over and above the interests of national security, that there was and is no case to answer."