BAE comms staff face SFO probe

Comms staff at embattled BAE Systems could be ­questioned as part of ongoing Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations into the company’s foreign deals, legal experts have warned.

As pressure mounts on the firm, the SFO is looking into deals in countries such as Tanzania, Chile and South Africa.

The SFO declined to comment, but a senior source at one of the UK’s biggest law firms said PROs would be expected to have knowledge of such deals and should therefore prepare to be questioned.

BAE head of UK media John Nielsen said the firm’s ‘experienced comms team’ regularly consulted lawyers concerning its dealings with the press.

‘The team’s practice is appropriate,’ he added.

BAE is already facing questions over alle­gations that the company paid more than £1bn to a Saudi prince in the 1980s. Much of the negative coverage has been led by The Guardian, which Nielsen claimed was waging an ‘unsubstantiated campaign’ against BAE’s Saudi business.

He added that BAE was briefing journalists on a one-to-one basis to help them understand the business.

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