Monday, October 29, 2007

Suit: Bandar used bribe to build Aspen estate

by Brent Gardner-Smith from The Aspen Daily News

The lawsuit, filed on Sept. 19 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the City of Harper Woods Employees Retirement System, targets the board of directors of BAE Systems plc, a British defense contractor. It names Bandar as a key defendant. Prince Bandar was the Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005 before being named to a top security and defense position in the Saudi government ... The arms deal that Bandar helped negotiate involved the Saudis providing Britain with up to 600,000 barrels of oil a day. In exchange, British Aerospace, now part of BAE Systems, provided the Saudis with fighter jets, training jets, helicopters and technology. As part of the deal, BAE apparently provided $2 billion over the years to an account at the Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C., that Bandar had access to. It has been previously reported that Bandar is said to have used funds from the account to fund his travels as ambassador, but the lawsuit is the first time it has been alleged that Bandar may have used BAE funds to build his $135 million Starwood estate. Earlier this year, both Bandar and BAE issued statements strongly denying any wrongdoing.

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