A politically connected British defense contractor has agreed to plead guilty to having misled the government about payments that may have been used to help win contracts Saudi Arabia, the Justice Department has announced.
In a joint agreement with the U.S. and U.K., BAE Systems will pay a $400 million fine.
The Justice Department investigation, which began eight years ago, was focused on payments made by BAE, the world’s second largest defense contractor, as part of a contract to supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The Justice Department alleged that BAE had told the government that it had put anti-bribery preventative measures in place, but had not in fact done so.
Then, says DOJ in the charging document, BAE “made hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to third parties, while knowing of a high probability that money would be passed on to foreign government decision makers to favor BAE in the award of defense contracts.”
Earlier this week, we reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY-R) has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from from BAE, and has steered millions in earmarks toward the firm, which operates a facility in the Bluegrass State. Last week, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor to oppose a Democratic effort to ensure that foreign corporations can’t spend money to sway U.S. elections.
BAE Systems has also received earmarks in recent years from several other lawmakers, and has through its PAC is a prodigious political giver.