(Business comes first before ethical foreign policy)
The Serious Fraud Office was investigating claims that Britain's biggest defense firm BAE had paid bribes to secure an arms deal with Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. BAE has always denied the claims.
(Blackmail or?) The Saudis were threatening to pull out of a deal to buy 72 Euro-fighter jets from BAE and deal with France instead.
The Serious Fraud Office was told (from the top) to drop the case, owing to concerns that another multi-million pound Saudi deal would be lost.
When asked about the deal Blair said: "Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is vitally important for our country in terms of counter-terrorism, in terms of the broader Middle East, in terms of helping in respect of Israel and Palestine. That strategic interest comes first." Plus ……. the effect on "thousands of British jobs and billions worth of pounds for British industry" He might have quoted Labour peer Lord Gilbert, a former minister for defense procurement, said: "It's a very very difficult area, one man's bribe is another man's commission payment. You get this sort of ambiguity in the world of commerce very frequently." (yes it happens to me all the time Ha!)
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) convention against bribery, to which Britain signed up in 2001, rules that investigations should not be influenced by the national economic interest, or the potential effect upon relations with another state; the allegations pre-date 2001, when the OECD convention was incorporated into British law- but if deemed ethical today ….. (fill in your own thoughts)