Final Word from Friday, May 14, 2004

The problem with corruption is that there's rarely any evidence. Two people agree in a dark room, pass an envelope, and the deed is done. Sometimes, though, the organization of the deception is so complicated that records must be kept. The Guardian reported that fraud-squad detectives from the British defense ministry seized 386 boxes of "slush fund" files two weeks ago from a warehouse in Hertfordshire. Among the documents, The Guardian said, were the names of every Saudi official alleged to have received benefits from BAE Systems in recent years. The key Saudi official in charge of British arms purchases was cited as receiving ?17m in benefits and cash. So far, no officials from other countries have been implicated. BAE said it "rigorously complies with the laws of the U.K. and of the countries in which it operates." Such as the CR. Arabia Gripen fighters UK


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