Sunday, November 25, 2007

Prince Bandar lawyers up — with Louie Freeh

The long-term Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington has taken the former FBI director as his lawyer as the Justice Dept. investigation of British defense giant BAE ramps up . You know it’s serious if Bandar is reaching for that level of legal firepower.

BAE, which had a similar investigation in the UK fizzle out earlier this year under covert political pressure, gets about half its revenue from U.S. subsidiaries. It is accused of paying out Billions with a B of dollars of “lubrication money” to Bandar and other Saudi royals to lock up defense contracts.

The BAE tentacles reach all the way to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Saudi King Abdullah, who didn’t make the first state trip to the UK by a Saudi king in 20 years just to see London fog, or London Fog.

Bandar got $2bil himself, reportedly. That must have paid for an awful lot of sideline space with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys.

The DOJ is investigating under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribes of foreign nationals even if they don’t occur on U.S. soil. Any company with an American connection, such as a listing on an American stock exchange or the use of an American bank account to transfer suspect payments, opens the door for prosecution under the F.C.P.A.

In addition to fines or prison sentences, an FCPA conviction can also bar a company from doing business in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the British High Court has ordered an official investigation into why his government let pursuit of BAE drop. From all that’s spilling out about BAE and its numerous tentacles, it certainly sounds like Bush’s lapdog committed obstruction of justice.

And, in what is indeed poetic justice, albeit delayed, Halliburton is under an FCPA investigation into activities in Nigeria; the timespan of the investigation includes the period when Dick Cheney was CEO.

“Snarl real pretty for the court cameras, Dick. You, too, Tony.”