Minister defends Britain’s stance on fraud

Trade and Industry minister Margaret Hodge has denied that the decision to
shutdown the investigation into fraud allegations regarding the Al Yamama arms
contract with Saudi Arabia has signalled Britain is now soft on fraudsters.

She insisted no weight had been given to commercial or economic reasons for
his intervention but claimed: ‘This decision sets no precedent of any kind and
was made on legitimate public interest grounds.

Responding to a question in the Commons, Hodge insisted: ‘The government
remains extremely serious about tackling corruption’.

Hodge said a new International Corruptions Group would provide the UK with a
dedicated resource to investigate allegation of corruption and bribery by a UK
citizen or company anywhere in the world.

She claimed attorney general Lord Goldsmith ‘has made it clear to the
director of the Serious Fraud Office that he should pursue cases of alleged
bribery and corruption vigorously’ and that no particular company is beyond the
law or immune from action.

Related reading