BAE Systems enters guilty plea

Category: Business

Defense company BAE Systems PLC pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Monday and a judge imposed a $400 million fine, among the largest in the Justice Department's efforts to combat overseas corruption in international business.

The defense contractor knowingly failed to ensure compliance with legal prohibitions on foreign bribery. The company's conduct impeded U.S. efforts to be certain international trade is free of corruption, said acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler.

The gain to BAES was more than $200 million from false statements and failures to disclose information to the U.S. government, according to court papers in the case.

From 2000 to 2002, the company told the Defense and Justice departments that it would carry out compliance measures in accordance with anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and with similar foreign laws.

According to papers filed in the case, BAES took steps to conceal from the U.S. government undisclosed payments to marketing advisers who assisted in securing sales of defense items, and the company failed to scrutinize its relationships with some of the advisers.

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