View Full Version : Bandar Says BAE Systems Funds Went to Govt

06-13-2007, 03:17 PM
P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News (http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=97436&d=13&m=6&y=2007)

JEDDAH, 13 June 2007 — Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, former Saudi ambassador to Washington and the current head of national security in the Kingdom, yesterday categorically denied media reports that he had received huge amounts in bribes from British defense giant BAE Systems for arms deals and insisted that the funds he received went to the Saudi government.

“The allegations in The Guardian have nothing to do with the truth and reality but represent a pinnacle of slander and lies,” the prince said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The British newspaper alleged in a June 6 article that payments totaling more than $2 billion were paid to Prince Bandar.

Britain’s defense giant BAE Systems is alleged to have set up a secret slush fund for members of the Saudi royal family to secure continued business, dating back to the massive Al-Yamamah arms deal signed in 1985.

“All the amounts mentioned by the newspaper were transferred from Saudi government accounts to other accounts of the Saudi government in the United States, and not to my personal accounts,” Prince Bandar said.

“It is illogical to believe that any transfer in keeping with US and British banking regulations can be kept secret, or without the governments or the parties concerned being informed,” he said. “All the parties concerned in the Saudi government were aware and fully informed of all the spending through the accounts at Riggs Bank” in Washington, when he was the Kingdom’s ambassador, he added.

He also pointed out that the Riggs Bank account of the Saudi Embassy in Washington was annually audited by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance.

“When certain banking violations were discovered at Riggs Bank all accounts of Saudi Arabia were checked by the US Treasury Department and other agencies but they did not find any violations in these (Saudi) accounts, either in their management or legitimacy,” the statement said.

Prince Bandar called upon the media to look into these facts while reporting on the issue. He said his team of lawyers would take up the issue. The prince’s lawyers on June 7 issued a statement “categorically denying” he received any “improper secret commissions or backhanders” for the Al-Yamamah deal.

The statement said the money was paid into accounts in the name of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense and Aviation.

“Any payments into those accounts made by BAE were pursuant to the Al-Yamamah contracts and as such would not in any way have been ‘secret’ from the parties to those contracts,” it said.

“Whilst Prince Bandar was an authorized signatory on the accounts any monies paid out of those accounts were exclusively for purposes approved by MODA,” the lawyers said.

the Guardian's version of this story is here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/baefiles/story/0,,2097149,00.html)