Court rules UK Serious Fraud Office termination of investigation illegal.
Thursday 10 April 2008
This morning at 10 o’clock, the UK High Court ruled that the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) acted unlawfully when he stopped a corruption investigation into BAE Systems’ arms deals with Saudi Arabia.
The judgment was handed down in response to a judicial review brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House.
The judges described the SFO Director’s subsequent termination of the investigation on 14th December 2006 as a ‘successful attempt by a foreign government to pervert the course of justice in the United Kingdom’.
They were scathing about the arguments given in court for ending the investigation:
‘It is obvious . . . that the decision to halt the investigation suited the objectives of the executive. Stopping the investigation avoided uncomfortable consequences, both commercial and diplomatic.’
Both groups would like to thank all those who have supported us throughout the past 16 months in bringing this court case. It wouldn’t have been possible without you!
As we said in our statement read out at the press conference: ‘This is not just CAAT’s and Corner House’s case. It is yours too. It belongs to everyone who is troubled by corruption, by the arms trade, and by the misuse of national security arguments to protect the powerful’.
We’ll post the judgment, press release, statement and analysis up on our website as soon as we’ve recovered . . . We’ll also send you a selection of the media coverage.
But if you can’t wait — or would like to see pictures of today’s press conference — please go to our dedicated judicial review website:
or that of our solicitors, Leigh Day: