Press release 14th Oct 2019

Serious Concerns Over Delay to Corruption Probe into Airbus Subsidiary

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October 14, London – Transparency International UK has written to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to express serious concern over the ongoing delay to the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) foreign bribery case involving Airbus subsidiary GPT.

The SFO launched a corruption probe into GPT Special Project Management in 2012 amid accusations the company had paid £14 million in bribes to secure a £2 billion communications contract with the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

SFO investigators requested permission to prosecute from the Attorney General’s office more than 18 months ago, but no decision has been made and no explanation provided for the delay.

In a joint letter with Spotlight on Corruption, Transparency International UK has called on the Attorney General to urgently update Parliament on the status of the investigation. We also warn that blocking the case on national security grounds would irreparably damage not just the UK’s international reputation but also the global fight against corruption.

The full letter is available to view here.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“Delaying a decision on whether to prosecute has serious implications given the stated intent for the company under investigation to be wound up at the end of the year. If national security is then cited as a reason not to proceed, individuals involved may also be shielded from prosecution. This could set a dangerous precedent and risks giving a green light to other companies in this sector to engage in corrupt practices. As a matter of urgency, the Attorney General should update Parliament and explain the reasons for the delay.”



Harvey Gavin
[email protected]
+44 (0)20 3096 7695
++44 (0)79 6456 0340