Glenn Defense Marine Asia and the US 7th Fleet (the ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal)

Introduction While high-value military hardware procurement programs feature most prominently as vehicles for corruption in this compendium, less visible but equally critical contracts are also susceptible to graft. A now-four-year scandal stemming from corrupt port services contracts has rocked the U.S. Navy’s Pacific operations, implicating officers and civilians up and down the ranks. Prosecutors determined …

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German submarine sales to Israel

Introduction Like most submarine sales in recent years, the planned sale by German shipbuilders ThyssenKrupp of three Dolphin-2 submarines to Israel, possibly intended to carry nuclear weapons, appears to have involved substantial bribes, in this case paid to close associates of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The sale was provisionally agreed late in 2016, against …

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South Korea’s “Mr. German U-boat”

Introduction South Korea has been a consistent customer of Kiel-based Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), the German submarine manufacturer, for over thirty years, buying new boats from the shipyard in 1987, 1989, 1994, 2000, and 2008. In July 2015, South Korean investigators arrested Chung Eui-sung, the man responsible for brokering each of these deals, while pocketing millions …

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Ericsson’s sale of radar systems to Greece

Introduction  The economic and fiscal crisis that struck Greece in 2009 has also led to widespread corruption investigations, unearthing vast corruption by politicians and others across Greek industry that is widely seen as one of the factors behind the crisis. The military sector is certainly no exception, and whistleblowers have suggested that virtually all arms …

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Brazil’s DCNS submarine contract

Introduction Operation Car Wash (“Lava Jato”), the sprawling investigation into public-sector corruption that brought down Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, is also threatening to tarnish a submarine contract signed in 2009 with French state-controlled shipbuilder DCNS. In addition to agreeing to provide four Scorpène diesel-powered attack submarines, the French company committed to help the Brazilian military …

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Rolls Royce’s Indian jet engine bribes

Introduction The multi-jurisdiction investigation into Rolls-Royce’s extensive history of paying bribes, prompted by a whistleblower’s allegations in 2012, included one major defense deal. According to investigations in India and the United Kingdom, the British engine-manufacturing company used a series of agents to secure a contract in India for trainer-aircraft jet engines. The GBP 200 million …

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The Al Yamamah arms deals

Introduction The Al Yamamah series of arms deals with Saudi Arabia was, and remains, Britain’s biggest arms deal ever concluded, earning the prime contractor, BAE Systems , at least GBP 43 billion in revenue between 1985 and 2007, with further deals still ongoing. In 1985, the UK and Saudi governments signed an initial Memorandum of …

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Angolagate

Introduction The Angolagate scandal rocked the French political world when it came to light in 1999. It revealed a plot to circumvent UN arms embargo, involving several senior French political figures to covertly supply arms to the Angolan government for use in its renewed war against UNITA rebels. Beyond the illegality of the arms sales …

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India’s Barak 1 missile deal

Introduction Not all corruption investigations can uncover enough evidence to proceed to prosecution, and in the case of India’s Barak 1 missile acquisition in 2000, even the help of extensive undercover tape recordings failed to secure an indictment—although it did lead to several senior figures being removed from their positions, and the resignation of the …

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China’s crackdown on military corruption

Introduction The practice of buying and selling military positions and ranks has a long history, even if today it is strictly forbidden in almost all armed forces. For example, from 1683 to 1871, most commissions in the British Army were paid for. This was not a matter of bribes and back-handers, rather it was the …

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