Newsnight 10-03-2016 the investigations go on, will the teeth ever bite?
The public is becoming increasingly aware of the uncomfortably cosy relationship between Britain and Saudi Arabia. That relationship has become crucial for diplomatic reasons, for security and intelligence reasons, and for reasons of business and international trade. So what’s the deal with the Saudi kings?
In the 1980s Britain and Saudi Arabia negotiated one of the world’s largest ever arms deals. Rumours of corruption surrounding the Al-Yamamah deal, worth about £40 billion, soon emerged. The Serious Fraud Office began making investigations into allegations that large sums of money had been paid into anonymous private Swiss bank accounts. The Swiss banks were on the verge of disclosing information in September 2006, but the Saudis put pressure on the British government to call off its investigations. Lobbyists argued that British jobs would be lost if arms deals with the Saudis were adversely affected by the outcome of the enquiry. The attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, announced to…
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