BAE fined £500,000 on accounting charge

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Robert Lovell
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BAE Systems has been fined £500,000 at Southwark Crown Court for breaching its duty to keep proper records of payments to an adviser in Tanzania.

The Serious Fraud Office (SRO) told the Crown Court that BAE accepted it had not accounted accurately for US$12.4 million of payments made between 1999 and 2005 to Tanzania-based businessman Shailesh Vithlani for his work as an agent in helping to secure a radar deal.

The high-profile case is being seen as a test of whether the courts will accept “plea bargains”, in which businesses admit limited wrongdoing in exchange for more lenient treatment.

The judge said in court this morning he was surprised to find the SFO as prosecutor “granting a blanket indemnity for all offences committed in the past”.

These remarks - combined with the smaller than expected fine - puts the future of plea bargain cases in the UK into doubt.

The Crown Court case against BAE was agreed in a deal announced in February following a written settlement with the SFO.

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22nd Dec 2010 12:08

The judge made a number of good points in thsi case

i think he almost stopped sentencing because of the information given to him re the payments to Mr V, where he mused on what happened to the payments after they were paid and whether that was relevant - not a fan of plea bargaining especially when the state uses undue prssure such as the ' we will go after your wife as well' type

 i note that some of the £30m fine agreed by BAE will be paid for the benefit of the people of Tanzania - er how much is this part and how do the SFO expect the people to access it?

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