Swedish Prosecutor Opens Official Investigation into Saab-BAE Irregularities
June 25, 2007 (LPAC) – The Swedish special prosecutor and chief of the national anti-corruption office, Christer van der Kwast, admitted to the Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri on June 16, that he has been investigating the case of sales of Saab's Jas-Gripen jet fighters through the possible use of bribes, and that the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is collaborating with him on the BAE case.
"Yes, there is such an investigation", van der Kwast told Dagens Industri adding, "I have just come back from London, where I discussed this issue, among other things, with the SFO." The Swedish daily reports that the SFO is investigating how the BAE, which owns 20% of Saab, help selling the Jas-Gripen fighter jets to South Africa.
"We have started a process to making an official request for information from the South African authorities, but in general, we don't have further comments," an official of the SFO is quoted. The SFO is trying to prove that bribes were used and that the BAE knew about that, and is collaborating the Swedish anti-corruption office.
Van der Kwast says: "Simply, we exchange information. Whatever the SFO finds could be of interest for us in our investigation of bribes to the Czech Republic and vice versa. It is related to a certain extent to similar forms of cooperation between Saab and BAE in both cases."
Special Prosecutor Van der Kvast opened a preliminary investigation in February, 2007--even though the Tony Blair government had ordered an end to the British SFO investigation into the Saudi bribes in late 2006. The Swedish probe into suspected bribery charges related to the leasing of 14 Gripen jets to the Czech Republic in 2004, and Van der Kvast has interrogated high ranking Saab officials. According to him, the investigation will continue until after the summer.