Big Banking, Big Weapons corrupt British government bureaucrats

This video from Britain says about itself:

10 October 2013

Multinational BAE Systems make everything from aircraft to missiles and big profits. They make big profits, create skilled jobs and use cutting edge technology. But is it in an immoral business?


Originally formed from a merger of British aviation companies in the 1970s, BAE was originally called British Aerospace. Now it’s ditched the British title and goes for global sales. 47% of its business comes from the US and 29% from the UK. The key objection critics make against BAE is that they’re arming over 100 countries around the world. And in countries like Bahrain BAE’s weapons are used to subdue pro-democracy demonstrations.


It’s also been accused of corruption in its business dealings. In 2004 the UK’s Serious Fraud Office started investigating BAE for paying bribes to win contracts in Saudia Arabia. But the prime minister at the time Tony Blair closed the investigation down, saying Britain’s “strategic interest” came first. In Tanzania, too, BAE was involved in a corruption scandal and even tried to withhold compensation payments it was ordered to pay to the country.


BAE is praised for creating jobs — but critics claim the British tax payer is subsidising those jobs. Much of the money spent on research and development which benefits the arms industry comes from the public purse, too. Some say the money would be better spent on other areas, such as green technology. BAE has also been accused of being too close to the UK government, with former civil servants and ex-ministers regularly coming to work for them: the “revolving door syndrome“.

By Luke James in Britain:

Love bombs

Tuesday 9th February 2016

Probe exposes sick truth of banks and arms firms dropping gifts onto grateful mandarins amid ongoing investigations

TREASURY chiefs routinely accepted “cosy” dinner dates with lobbyists for banks even as they were being investigated for financial misconduct, an explosive new report reveals today.

An investigation by the National Audit Office also shows arms manufacturers are among the most frequent providers of hospitality and gifts to government officials.

The Whitehall watchdog found that senior civil servants accepted 3,413 corporate freebies between April 2012 and March 2015.

Mandarins were most likely to be treated to dinner and drinks, with a whopping 2,656 meals registered — including at luxury 5-star venues such as the Quirinale, Savoy Grill and the Athenaeum.

They also registered luxury gifts such as iPads, sports tickets and bottles of champagne.

A Fortnum and Mason hamper, a painting worth £300 and a tour of the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio were among more extravagant items exposed.

In one case an official was made to surrender a £300 Mont Blanc pen to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

NAO chief Amyas Morse said that while it is “reasonable” to accept gifts and hospitality, they could “present a risk of actual or perceived conflicts of interest.”

The report highlights serious cases which the NAO warned “might be considered to be a conflict under the Civil Service guidance.”

It reveals that “the Bankers’ Association (BBA) was among the most frequent providers of hospitality, at the same time that some of its members were being investigated in the UK for market manipulations and by the competition regulator.”

The association provided gifts and hospitality on 21 occasions, including lunch dates with the permanent secretary to the Treasury Sir Nicholas Macpherson and his deputy John Kingsman.

Officials have also accepted freebies from Barclays and HSBC — both members of the BBA which have been fined by the Financial Conduct Authority — on 49 occasions since 2012.

Details of the close relationship between senior government officials and the banking lobby come just a week after it emerged Tory ministers had met Google bosses 24 times in the last two years.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the report is proof that “this government is the most transparent ever and publishes an unprecedented range of information about gifts and hospitality.”

But Labour MP Dawn Butler said: “The Tories should be standing up for consumers and tackling bad practice, but this looks like a relationship that’s just a bit too cosy.

“Once again this government proves it is not on the side of working people.”

The report also examined gifts and hospitality received by bosses at the Defence, Equipment and Support, which is described as a “bespoke trading entity within the Ministry of Defence (MoD).”

The MoD department accepted £100,000 worth of freebies from 600 organisations last year.

But the most frequent supplier is arms manufacturer BAE Systems, which lavished officials on 581 occasions.

The NAO said that also raised a possible conflict of interest as the company is a “major supplier to government.”

They also raised concerns over the “proportionality” of allowing arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin to pay for wine at the Skills Funding Agency Christmas lunch for two separate years.

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith told the Star: “This is another example of the politically intimate and compromising relationship between arms companies and Whitehall.

“These companies wouldn’t be buying these gifts and spending this money unless they expected something in return.

BAE isn’t just a major provider to the government, it is also profiting from the destruction of Yemen and working with ministers and civil servants to push for even more arms to human rights abusing regimes like Saudi Arabia.”

See also here.

5 thoughts on “Big Banking, Big Weapons corrupt British government bureaucrats

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