Bribery and Corruption in the Arms Trade

Abstract

Within Western nations, it is usually considered unethical for corporations to use bribery as a method of getting business. Indeed, it is not uncommon for Western business people to pride themselves on the ethical purity of their own business environment in this respect, whilst reproaching developing nations for their corrupt practices.

It therefore came as a surprise to many when, in 2003, a report appeared in The Guardian newspaper alleging that one of Britain’s biggest companies had been involved in bribery on a massive scale. BAE Systems is the UK’s largest manufacturer of weapons, military aircraft and security equipment. According to The Guardian’s report, the company had paid bribes over many years to officials in Saudi Arabia in order to win contracts worth tens of billions of pounds to supply defence equipment to the Saudi government.

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