Funding the Belgian Socialist parties

Introduction On July 18, 1991, the retired Belgian politician André Cools, an influential Socialist figure and former deputy prime minister, was shot to death by two assailants in the Cointe neighborhood of Liège. Through a series of confessions, the investigation into his death revealed two major arms procurement scandals involving the Flemish (Dutch-speaking) Socialistische Partij …

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Airbus Eurofighter sales to Austria

Introduction Airbus’ checkered past has come under examination across a number of jurisdictions, but it may be one of the oldest allegations that brings down CEO Tom Enders. In 2003, Airbus’ defense group—headed up by Enders—sold eighteen Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft to Austria. Since then, prosecutors, parliamentary investigators, and the media have gradually confirmed what …

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Embraer’s global bribery schemes

Introduction Brazilian company Embraer is best known as a leading producer of civilian regional aircraft, but also builds and successfully exports military trainer/light combat and surveillance aircraft. The company’s global presence includes a U.S. subsidiary and the licensed production of the Embraer Super Tucano in the United States, from where sales are made to the …

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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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The Boeing Tanker Case

Introduction The U.S. defense acquisition system’s “revolving door” is legendary, but few cases of officials performing favors in exchange for post-retirement jobs have been successfully prosecuted. In 2004, a senior U.S. Air Force procurement official was arrested in a textbook example of revolving door corruption, landing not only herself but also senior executives from contractor …

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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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The Indian VVIP helicopter deal

Introduction Corruption is a persistent problem in Indian arms procurement, on both a petty and a grand scale. In the case of the 12 VVIP (Very Very Important Person) transport helicopters bought from AgustaWestland in 2010, however, the result of the corruption was not just extra costs for the Indian taxpayer, but a helicopter unable …

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South Korea’s AW-159 helicopters

Introduction After a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean naval frigate ROKS Cheonan in March 2010, the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy decided it needed to improve its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities. The very next month, two of the navy’s existing Super Lynx helicopters, delivered by the British firm Westland in the 1990s, crashed …

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German Submarine Sales to Portugal

See also: The Greek Submarine Deal. Introduction Submarine sales seem to be particularly prone to bribery. They are complex, once-in-a-generation (for most countries) purchases. Prices are difficult to compare in a meaningful way. Further, submarines offer most countries little practical military use in the 21st century security context. A stealthy, underwater vehicle, they also seem …

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The South African Arms Deal

Introduction How did post-apartheid South Africa succumb to one of the most infamous and long-lasting corruption scandals in recent memory? The allegations, that leading politicians manipulated the procurement process for an arms deal worth USD 5 billion at the time in return for bribes of as much as USD 300 million from the seller companies, …

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