There are crimes out there, some are small, some are not called crimes, they are labelled as an ‘improper offense‘, these offenses are offenses, yet so small that the CPA might decide not to look into the matter.
The Guardian had an opinion piece on the Arms trade two days ago called ‘Is the government turning a deaf ear to arms deal bribes?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/18/attorney-general-geoffrey-cox-gpt-arms-deal-corruption), now this is an article on bribery, one would consider it to be an improper act, optionally a crme, yet the facts do not bear this out. The setting is not that someone enriched themselves, no, they stated that they spend less than an addition 1%, almost 30% less than one percent to secure a contract: “to win a £2bn contract to provide communications and electronic warfare equipment to the Saudi national guard“, the so called former employee of GPT “Ian Foxley. When he was about to blow the whistle, he fled Saudi Arabia overnight fearing that his life was in danger“, the fact that we overlook ‘the fact that he was merely allegedly fearing that his life was in danger‘ is the first part, the fact that the bribery was there would be an issue for the Saudi Government to pursue (one would imagine), we see in the cold light of day that someone spend 1% extra to make sure that the order was accepted, OK, by law it would be an offense, it would be an ‘Improper offense‘, it might be a crime in Saudi Arabia as well, but they are seemingly not pursuing the matter are they? When we look at the black letter law we see that there is optionally a case to go after GPT Special Project Management, a UK-based subsidiary of the European aerospace group Airbus, yet in light of the thousands of cases not touched, and the fact that there is no actual victim here, should we pursue? Don’t get me wrong, corruption is nothing less than the proverbial blight on life, yet the EU gravy train is not stopped is it? Corporations are not being pursued in light of their activities to self-enrich themselves, are they? Yet there are a lot of eyes on anything accomplished in the Middle East, in this case in Saudi Arabia, I wonder if Ian Foxley would have shown the same candour if the buyer was the US, and they have the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And there actually have been cases on that combination. Siemens (2008), Marubeni Corporation (2012), Biomet Inc. (2012), Goodyear (2015), and there have been plenty more, yet why is this one case important?
It is not seen immediate, or not until you take a longer look at the UK Bribery Act 2010, The BA 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 and entered into force on 1 July 2011 in the UK, a guardian article spent a little time on it in 2013 (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/10/whistleblowers-snowden-truth-sets-free) there we see: “In 2010, Ian Foxley was working as the programme director for a British subsidiary of defence giant EADS on a £1.96bn contract to modernise the communications systems for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. When he came across evidence of corruption and bribery he fled the country and reported it to British officials“. There is an overlap, the UK Bribery Act 2010 was not part of law at that point. The act was not entered into law until 1st July 2011 in the UK, this does not make the act of Bribery all right, it merely states that an act that is privy to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, and there we will learn that he agent might optionally be held to the dock, but it will not apply as the one bribed was allegedly part of Saudi Arabia, hence not part of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland. It is the little things that make life satisfying, and the Guardian hiding behind “The delay in making a decision speaks to a deep malaise: suggesting that Britain is simply unwilling to prosecute major companies that are accused of paying bribes to foreign politicians and officials” is both unfair and incorrect, an alleged event took place in the time when the law was being adjusted, is it not interesting on how this one case, a case that should be in the hands of Saudi Arabia to consider prosecution (for the most) seems to get such attention, it seems that Anti-Muslim issues are rearing its ugly head, you see that statement is also alleged, yet I see no such news prosecution regarding Smith & Nephew paid US$22.2 million to the DOJ and SEC in 2012 regarding a deferred prosecution agreement. The idea of “possible improper payments to government-employed doctors” seems to hit people in general, but there is no real overwhelming amount of news there, is it? It seems to me that we are in a larger caser of ignorance when it comes to non-Muslim considerations, oh and that was in the US, how many prosecutions and investigations did Stephen and Nephew face in the UK? I am not telling, I am asking, the news does not seem to make mention of that.
There is also the case CAS-Global Ltd. and the Private Nigerian Coast Guard Fleet (at https://sites.tufts.edu/corruptarmsdeals/cas-global-ltd-and-the-private-nigerian-coast-guard-fleet/), the Independent was seemingly the only paper taking a look at that (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/two-british-businessmen-arrested-on-suspicion-of-involvement-in-sale-of-naval-vessels-to-nigerian-9991217.html), as I see it, the Guardian might not be guilty, it does have a few explanations to hand out, it will seemingly lash out at Saudi Arabia, but not much beyond that, Nigeria is loving it, I wonder how Saudi Arabia feels about being singled out and let’s face it, I personally perceive the GPT issue what could be set as an ‘Improper Offense‘, so I leave it up to the powers that be to decide, that was Jeremy Wright, trying it again and having Geoffrey Cox decide on it is a little childish, but OK, such are the rules, yet no one is asking questions too loudly on the Nigerian private security company setting up some similar form of payment for services whilst this involved selling 6 Norwegian former naval vessels to a privately owned security firm? And why does it matter, because like me two British business subjects thought it would be lucrative to enter the arms dealer world. It is a whole different level is it not? Robe Evans and David Pegg did write a good piece, and it is an opinion piece and we are and should be asking questions, yet I wonder if the writer intended the questions that are on the mind are the ones he wanted us to have on the mind.
The fact that in this day and age, whilst the UK STILL has not figured out its tax laws on properly taxing corporations filling its pockets in the UK whilst paying so little tax, it should be regard as an insult, are given all the space they need and the laws we see enable them and seemingly set the stage where other cases are not ignored for a decade, all whilst that one case had no real UK victims. OK, I admit that this is the wrong direction to go, but there are cases with an abundance of UK victims that seemingly do not get the attention or the jurisprudence it deserves, should that not be a first for the UK?
It is just one part in all this that we should consider before we consider anything else. And when we compare the Norwegian Navel issue towards private companies and one deal going towards the Saudi Government, where was our focus? That is before we see the elements in the Smith & Nephew deal, so they paid for it in the US, yet how much investigations was done regarding their actions in the UK?