SFO offers BAE Systems plea bargain in sale probe: report

BAE Systems has been offered a plea bargain by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in its probe of bribery allegations relating to the sale of equipment to Tanzania, Czech Republic and South Africa, the Mail on Sunday reported.
The report, citing sources close to BAE, said the SFO has offered a deferred prosecution, whereby the company would plead guilty before a judge, pay a fine and agree to mend its ways.
The paper said the firm may have to pay tens of millions of pounds in fines as the penalty would relate to more than £2.5 billion ($4.08 billion) (R36 billion) in contracts.
The case involves a Tanzanian air traffic control deal worth around £28 million (R350 million) and the aborted sale of fighter aircraft to the Czechs worth more than £1 billion (R12 billion), while the South African fighter aircraft deal was worth £1.5 billion (R18 billion).
Negotiations relating to the three cases are under way between the SFO and BAE, the report said.
BAE said it was cooperating with the SFO.
“The interests of the company as well as all of its stakeholders, including the general public, are best served by allowing the ongoing investigations to run their course,” BAE Systems said in an email sent to Reuters.
“The company is working with regulators towards that end and is providing access to people, information and premises whenever requested.”

Pic: BAE Systems logo