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Corruption and the arms trade: the U.K. Ministry of Defense and the bribe culture


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  • Nicholas Gilby

    (Campaign Against Arms Trade, London)

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    Using as-yet-unpublished material, the article considers the interaction of the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) with the “bribe culture” that surrounds international arms deals. It finds evidence of two phases. The first, which lasted until 1976, may be characterized as “in-house involvement;” the second, following the United States’ Lockheed scandal in 1975-76, as “subcontracted” corruption. In the latter phase, the MoD is seen to have tried to avoid acquiring knowledge of corrupt practices, to have avoided asking awkward questions, and to have left bribes on government-to-government deals to be paid by U.K. companies. In doing this, they are shown to have misled Parliament, and rather than taking any meaningful steps to try and stamp out corruption, to have let corruption continue unimpeded. The U.K. government has actively promoted arms exports for forty years and has always denied being complicit in bribery by arms companies. This article questions such denials and finds them wanting.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Economists for Peace and Security (UK) in its journal Economics of Peace and Security Journal.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 21-31

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    Handle: RePEc:uwe:journl:v:3:y:2008:i:1:p:21-31

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