Friday, 19. September 2014
30. 09. 08. - 18:00
An Austrian count is under investigation by British authorities for bribery in a case involving British Aerospace Systems BAE.
The British Special Fraud Office SFO had asked Austrian colleagues for support in their investigation into Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, 55, who is accused of "active and passive bribery" during weapons deals involving Austria buying the Eurofighter, and the Czech Republic buying the Swedish Saab Gripen in 2004.
Investigators from the Serious Fraud Office arranged for the agent, Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, to be raided in Austria.
Austrian prosecutors said the raids were carried out at the request of the SFO investigating allegations of bribery and money laundering.
The Austrian police seized a quantity of documents from the home and office of Mensdorff-Pouilly, who has been accused of receiving millions of pounds from BAE for promoting deals. He is the Viennese laird of a Scottish castle.
The SFO's investigations into BAE have been controversial as the government stopped its inquiry into Saudi arms deals. Critics have alleged that the government is soft on BAE and has placed the company above the law and effectively made it immune from prosecution - an accusation denied by ministers.
Attention has turned to other cases of alleged BAE bribery which the SFO has been investigating. Critics have been sceptical about the prospect of any progress in these investigations.
However the SFO has promised to pursue and complete its investigations into alleged BAE corruption in countries including Tanzania, Romania, and South Africa.
The SFO has been investigating corruption allegations in a BAE deal in the Czech Republic. The US Department of Justice is also understood to be investigating the Czech deal as part of its inquiries into the British company.
US officials have alleged for many years that the Czech deal was corrupt.
Mensdorff-Pouilly, who bought Dalnaglar castle in Perthshire, is one of three agents who allegedly handled corrupt payments in the joint Anglo-Swedish deal in which the Czech Republic agreed to lease Gripen fighter planes for £400m in 2004.
Documents obtained by Swedish state television identified secret payments of more than £4m from BAE and alleged that the money was used to pay bribes. According to the documents, BAE agreed to pass the 55-year-old count up to £40m if the aircraft sale was achieved.
It is alleged that in the end, a smaller sum was paid through a Panama-registered company when a smaller contract was signed.
Today, Gerhard Jorosch, spokesman for the Austrian prosecutors, told the Guardian: "We searched the premises of Mr Mensdorff-Pouilly at the direct request of the SFO last Wednesday". He added that the SFO is investigating alleged bribery and money-laundering in the sale of Gripen fighter jets to Hungary and the Czech Republic.
He added : "Quite a lot of documents were seized and transmitted to the SFO. The SFO and Austrian prosecutors are studying the material".
It is understood that two of the count's business associates were also raided. Harald Schuster, the count's lawyer, said he denied all wrongdoing. "The Serious Fraud Office does not have anything concrete. They are fishing for something else."
Last year, the count denied receiving offshore payments when the Swedish TV programme was broadcast.
He said his company, MPA, had been paid since 1992 for consultancy services in eastern Europe.
Mensdorff-Pouilly, the husband of a prominent Austrian politician, was interviewed last year over the corruption allegations.
In a separate controversy he was named in 1995 on a tape recording which alleged that he was the conduit for secret payments from BAE to party funds in Austria in return for sales. He was acquitted for lack of evidence.
According to an Austrian press report yesterday (Tues), the
raids were also carried out at the request of Swiss prosecutors who are
investigating BAE over alleged money-laundering. The Swiss prosecutors
would not comment.
Also under scrutiny is a 2001 deal in which the Hungarian government agreed to lease 14 Gripen planes.
The SFO declined to comment. BAE said: "BAE Systems continues to fully cooperate with the ongoing SFO investigation. As this is a continuing criminal investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on its substance."
Pat On The Back From Manure Explosive
A traffic cop in Austria got more than he bargained for after a booby trap covered him head-to-toe in manure as he was trying to catch people speeding.
Viennese Jihad Girl May Have Been Killed
Austrian police say that one of the two attractive young teenage girls who fled the country to go to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels may have been killed.
Perversion of a Medical Dream
The Decline and Fall of the Otto Wagner Hospital, Vienna.
Fat Can Be Used To Burn Off Weight After New Patent Unveiled
It is being hailed as a sensation after scientists at an Austrian university patented a method that transforms fat storing cells into mini factories capable of actually destroying fat by burning it off.
Three Family Members Dead In Well Tragedy
A mother has lost her husband, her pregnant daughter and her son-in-law after a tragic accident where one of them fell into a well and the other two died while trying to carry out a failed rescue.
Brit Soldier Rescued After Climbing Mountain In T Shirt
A British soldier who tackled the frozen Austrian Alps wearing just shorts and a T-shirt has been rapped by officials after he had to be rescued from the snowy peak.
Mum And Daughter Struck By Lightning In Pool
A mother and her daughter were hospitalised after they were struck by lightning – in a swimming pool.
Police Nab Porn Star Who Filmed In Local Church
A woman accused of making a porn movie in a local church has been caught after an informant tipped off police that he recognised her by her breasts after an appeal for information.
Young Hip Hop Dancer Gets 18 Years For Drug Smuggling
A blonde hip hop dancer and charity worker promised an international career after she was spotted by a talent scout has been jailed for 18 years in Indonesia after her work offer turned out to have been part of an elaborate drugs con.
Teen Dying Of Cancer Killed At Charity Event After Ride In Porsche Goes Wrong
The family of a sick boy who was offered a trip in a high-performance Porsche because he was dying of cancer is suing the charity after the Porsche he was travelling in crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Sex Pest Simulator Developed For Japanese Gropers|
|Viennese Jihad Girl May Have Been Killed|
|Toy Story Is A Tall One|
|Bloody Mass As Knifeman Chops Up Love Rival|
|Schoolboys Wear Dresses To Support Transgender Classmate|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.