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British Aerospace Systems, Al Yamamah and the UK Serious Fraud Office

Briefing Note by Transparency International (UK)

(This Note is written primarily for the information and use of Transparency International National Chapters, the TI Secretariat and TI(UK) members. Parts of it are necessarily a summary of a large number of reports and other published information over many years.)

On 14 December 2006, the UK Attorney General (AG), Lord Goldsmith, informed the House of Lords that the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Robert Wardle, had decided to discontinue its investigation into the affairs of British Aerospace Systems plc (BAeS) as far as they relate to the Al Yamamah defence contract. The decision had been taken following representations made both to the Attorney General and the SFO Director concerning "the need to safeguard national and international security". The announcement unleashed widespread criticism, both in the UK and externally.

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