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U.K. Court Approves BAE Plea

Neil Baker | December 23, 2010

A British judge has finally accepted a controversial plea bargain reached by the Serious Fraud Office and arms company BAE Systems, but only after heavily criticizing the terms of the deal.

Justice Bean said the plea agreement was “loosely and perhaps hastily drafted” and he was “surprised” that the SFO had given BAE “a blanket indemnity for all offences committed in the past, whether disclosed or otherwise.”

The judge pointed out in his ruling that the U.S. Department of Justice, which has reached its own settlement with BAE over related offences, limited its non-prosecution offer to past behavior that BAE had disclosed.

Justice Bean also questioned why the SFO had decided not to charge any individuals in the case.

The SFO announced that it had reached a...

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