BAE welcomes report on conduct after Saudi affair

Aerospace group BAE has welcomed the findings of a report into the firm by Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice, following a year-long review of the company̵7;s policies and practices.

The review came in the wake of the controversially abandoned Serious Fraud Office inquiry into BAE̵7;s arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Stronger anti-bribery measures, a global ethical code of conduct and abandoning some future contracts were among 23 recommendations made by an independent committee headed by the peer.

BAE chairman Dick Olver said the review had been "robust, rigorous, thorough, demanding" and rejected suggestions it had been a whitewash.

"When you think what it would take to have 97,000 people behave every day according to the spirit and the content of those 23 items, that gives you an idea of what the issue is.

"We've got a huge task; it's a welcome task," he said, promising a programme of "continuous improvement".

Olver said he would also welcome a full review of the SFO inquiry, insisting that a fresh look at the evidence would show there was no chance of bringing a successful prosecution and that ending the probe had been the right decision.

The SFO halted its investigation of corruption claims surrounding the £43bn Al Yamamah contract in December 2006 when Prime Minister Tony Blair said the Saudis had threatened to stop anti-terror cooperation.

Image: Dick Olver calls for a review of the SFO case

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