UK-Saudi Typhoon deal under threat from US

18-04-2008

UK-Saudi Typhoon deal under threat from US
A £20 billion deal to supply Saudi Arabia with typhoon fighter jets could be at risk because of opposition to the deal in the US, according to a report.

The Financial Times said the state department must approve the deal as it involves the transfer of US technology on the fighter before Britain can export the 72 Eurofighters, quoting a senior administration figure.

According to the report, the state department wants to approve the deal but the justice department has concerns the deal could affect an investigation into a previous deal between BAE and Saudi Arabia.

UK defence company BAE is being investigated by the US over alleged bribes relating to a previous Al-Yamamah arms deal. BAE is the main contractor on the current Al-Salam deal.

An investigation was also launched in the UK, but the government brought it to a halt for reasons of security. This decision was recently judged unlawful by the High Court.

The senior administration official told the Financial Times that because of the investigation, the justice department is not keen for the state department to say it was unaware that BAE had broken any laws.

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