From British daily The Guardian:
Austria set to sue over BAE arms sales
• New documents in inquiry into corruption allegations
• Vienna prosecutor builds case against ‘persuader’
* David Leigh and Rob Evans
* Friday 19 June 2009 21.58 BST
Austria expects to bring corruption charges in connection with BAE arms sales, the first such prosecution in five years’ of bribery investigations all over the world.
The Austrian prosecutors’ decision follows the emergence of new documents that outline in considerable detail the channelling of secret BAE cash to Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, an Austrian aristocrat who worked undercover for the arms firm. In one memo, Mensdorff claims Austria was persuaded to buy BAE‘s Eurofighters in 2002 for €1.7bn (£1.5bn), thanks to “aggressive incentive payments to key decision-makers”.
Leaked Austrian legal files reveal a new witness has emerged, Mark Cliff, 51, a British accountant, who helped the count to acquire a shooting estate with castle at Dalnaglar in Scotland in 2003. Cliff has now supplied information and documents. He was closely involved in running a chain of offshore companies used by Mensdorff. Cliff told the Guardian he did not wish to comment. …
According to the documents, Mensdorff helped promote BAE‘s interests in Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
New business for BAE Systems boosted its shares in a lacklustre stockmarket . News of a £370m contract to maintain and develop torpedoes for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force lifted the defence group 4.9p, or 1.5%, to 325.5p: here.
He can Count on the law
A few days ago, Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, arms lobbyist, returned to Austria as a winner.
Mensdorff, married to the former conservative health minister Maria Rauch-Kallat, had spent some time in a British prison.
Mensdorff was accused of bribing politicians in order to influence their decisions concerning new fighter jets for the Austrian airforce.
The British Serious Fraud Office arrested him in London.
Now a big white-collar criminal is free and tells us that his innocence was proven.
But BAE made a deal, of which Mensdorff was part, bribing its way out of charges.
This upper class criminal is seemingly above the law, while asylum seekers are convicted for stealing a piece of bread.
Tom Allahyari, Austria
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