BAE Systems, Prince Bandar and the $2 Billion Account at the Riggs Bank

If you want to report street crime and violence, call 911.

But what number do you call if you want to report corporate crime and violence?

We propose 611.

Call 611 to report corporate crime and violence.

We need a national number where people can pick up the phone and report the corporate criminals in our midst.

What triggered this thought?

We attended the press conference at the Justice Department the other day announcing the indictment of Congressman William Jefferson (D-Louisiana).

Jefferson was the first U.S. official charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Federal officials alleged that Jefferson was both on the giving and receiving ends of bribe payments.

On the receiving end, he took $100,000 in cash–$90,000 of it was stuffed into his freezer in Washington, D.C.

The $90,000 was separated in $10,000 increments, wrapped in aluminum foil, and concealed inside various frozen food containers.

At the press conference announcing the indictment, after various federal officials made their case before the cameras, up to the mike came Joe Persichini, assistant director of the Washington field office of the FBI.

“To the American people, I ask you, take time,” Persichini said. “Read this charging document line by line, scheme by scheme, count by count. This case is about greed, power and arrogance.”

Greed, power and arrogance.

What’s your GPA?

If it’s Washington, it’s off the charts.

Congressman Jefferson, Democrat, was no exception.

“Everyone is entitled to honest and ethical public service,” Persichini continued. “We as leaders standing here today cannot do it alone. We need the public’s help. The amount of corruption is dependent on what the public with allow. Again, the amount of corruption is dependent on what the public will allow.”

“If you have knowledge of, if you’ve been confronted with or you are participating, I ask that you contact your local FBI office or you call the Washington Field Office of the FBI at 202.278.2000. Thank you very much.”

Well thank you very much Mr. Persichini.

Well said–the amount of corruption is dependent upon what the public will allow.

Can’t let the greed, power and arrogance get out of control.

So, inspired by Mr. Persichini, this morning I picked up the phone and called that number–202.278.2000 and reported a corporate crime.

A woman answered the phone.

I asked her for her name.

She said she wasn’t allowed to give it out.

I’m a specialist at console number four, she said.

I was listening to the BBC this morning and heard the following report, I said.

The FBI woman interrupted me–

But are you calling to report a crime?

Yes, I said.

It’s an apparent violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act–the U.S. law that prohibits bribery abroad.

And unlike the $100,000 in cash that Congressman Jefferson allegedly stuffed in his freezer, here is an allegation that a major international weapons dealer–BAE Systems–paid a Saudi Prince $2 billion.

That would be 20,000 times as much cash as Jefferson allegedly pocketed.

Where is this information, the FBI woman asked?

It’s on the BBC’s web site.

And it’s on the Guardian’s web site, I said.

The British equivalent of the FBI had been investigating this crime, but Tony Blair’s administration put the kibosh on it.

Blair’s attorney general said the investigation threatened national security.

Blair said he took “full responsibility” for the decision to kill off the investigation.

According to the report by the BBC and the Guardian this morning, the arms company BAE Systems secretly paid Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia more than $2 billion in connection with Britain’s biggest ever weapons contract.

A series of payments from BAE was allegedly funneled through the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C. to Prince Bandar, who spent 20 years as the Saudi ambassador in the US.

Payments of $60 million were made to Prince Bandar every quarter for at least 10 years, the British news outlets reported.

The BBC’s Panorama program reported that the money was paid to Prince Bandar for his role in the 1985 deal to sell more than 100 warplanes to Saudi Arabia.

BAE Systems also would not explain the alleged payments.

In response to inquiries from the news outlets, the company responded–“Your approach is in common with that of the least responsible elements of the media–that is to assume BAE Systems’ guilt in complete ignorance of the facts.”

BAE said it acted legally at all times.

Anyway, Mr. Persichini, as you said–“the amount of corruption is dependent on what the public will allow.”

I mean, if we are going to indict a Congressman for stuffing $100,000 into his freezer, we had better take a close look at a giant international arms dealer stuffing $2 billion into Riggs Bank in our nation’s capital.

I’m sorry Mr. Persichini, can’t allow this corruption in our midst.

Look into for us.

Let us know what you find out.

And maybe the FBI will join with CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER to create a national emergency corporate crime number.

Let’s make it 611.

That’s an easier number to remember than 202.278.2000.

Call 611 to report corporate crime and violence.

Get back to us, will ya?

CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached through their website.