Corruption and the arms trade: The U.K. Ministry of Defense and the bribe culture

Nicholas Gilby

Abstract


Using as-yet-unpublished material, the article considers the interaction of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense (MoD) with the "bribe culture" that surrounds international arms deals. It finds evidence of two phases. The first, which lasted until 1976, may be characterized as "in-house involvement"; the second, following the United States' Lockheed scandal in 1975-76, as "subcontracted" corruption. In the latter phase, the MoD is seen to have tried to avoid acquiring knowledge of corrupt practices, to have avoided asking awkward questions, and to have left bribes on government-to-government deals to be paid by U.K. companies. In doing this, they are shown to have misled Parliament, and rather than taking any meaningful steps to try and stamp out corruption, to have let corruption continue unimpeded. The U.K. government has actively promoted arms exports for forty years and has always denied being complicit in bribery by arms companies. This article questions such denials and finds them wanting.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Adams, C., Burns, J., and Peel, M. 2007. “Goldsmith Reveals Saudi Royal Dilemma.” Financial Times. 31 January 2007.

Boulton, D. 1978. The Lockheed Papers. London: Jonathan Cape.

[Quadripartite Committee] Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees. 18 May 2004. “Strategic Export Controls: Annual Report for 2002, Licensing Policy and Parliamentary Scrutiny.” HC390.

[Quadripartite Committee] Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees. 3 August 2006. “Strategic Export Controls: Annual Report for 2004, Quarterly Reports for 2005, Licensing Policy and Parliamentary Scrutiny.” HC873.

[Quadripartite Committee] Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees. 23 July 2007. “Strategic Export Controls: 2007 Review.” HC117.

Evans, R. and Leigh, D. 2003a. “BAE Accused of Arms Deal Slush Fund.” The Guardian [London]. 11 September 2003. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,4751055-107982,00.html [accessed 23 September 2007].

Evans, R. and Leigh, D. 2003b. “MoD Chief in Fraud Cover-Up Row.” The Guardian [London]. 13 October 2003. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foi/story/0,,1061673,00.html [accessed 23 September 2007].

Evans, R. and Leigh, D. 2006. “The Secret Whitehall Telegram that Reveals Truth Behind Controversial Saudi Arms Deal.” The Guardian [London]. 28 October 2006. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foi/story/0,,1933764,00.html [accessed 23 September 2007].

Evans, R. and Leigh, D. 2007a. “BAE Accused of Secretly Paying £1bn to Saudi Prince.” The Guardian [London]. 7 June 2007. http://www.guardian.co.uk/baefiles/story/ 0,,2097149,00.html [accessed 23 September 2007].

Evans, R. and Leigh, D. 2007b. “MoD Accused Over Role in Bandar’s £1bn.” The Guardian [London]. 12 June 2007. http://www.guardian.co.uk/baefiles/story/0,,2100761,00.html [accessed 23 September 2007].

Evans, R., Carroll, R., Harding, L., and Traynor, I. 2003. “Web of State Corruption Dates Back 40 Years.” The Guardian [London]. 13 June 2003. http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/ story/0,,976559,00.html [accessed 23 September 2007].

Gilby, N. 2005. “The UK Government and Arms Trade Corruption: A Short History.” London: Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Hawley, S. 2003. Turning a Blind Eye: Corruption and the UK Export Credits Guarantee Department. Sturminster Newton: The Corner House.

Hirst, C. 2000. “The Arabian Connection: The UK Arms Trade to Saudi Arabia.” London: Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Ministry of Defence. 2005. “Defence Industrial Strategy.” (December). Cm 6697.

OECD. 2000. “United Kingdom: Review of the Implementation of the Convention and 1997 Recommendation.” Paris: OECD.

OECD. 2003. “United Kingdom: Review of the Implementation of the Convention and 1997 Recommendation, Phase 1 Bis Report.” Paris: OECD.

OECD. 2005. “United Kingdom Phase 2: Report on the Application of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the 1997 Recommendation on Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions.” Paris: OECD.

Phythian, M. 2000. The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Robertson, D. 2007. “Al-Yamamah: An Echo of 1980s Sleaze.” The Times [London]. 21 February 2007.

Roeber, J. 2005. “Parallel Markets: Corruption in the International Arms Trade.” London: Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Sampson, A. 1977. The Arms Bazaar: From Lebanon to Lockheed. London: Viking Press.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15355/epsj.3.1.21

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.