The full text of key documents the book draws on will be linked to from this page.   These documents have almost all been sourced from The National Archives.

The first set of documents concern the payment of “agency fees” on British Government-to-Government arms deals.  It has been well known for decades that the payment of agency fees (often also called commissions) by arms companies carries with it the risk some or all of the payment may be used as a bribe.    These documents also show how when a deal now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office – the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications (SANGCOM) project – was first being set up in 1976, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence approved the payment of agency fees proposed by the then prime contractor, Cable & Wireless.   One of the documents shows that some in the Ministry of Defence believed that the intention behind the payments was the “exertion of influence to sway decisions”.

The second set of documents reveals the manager of one company, due to receive 10 per cent in agency fees for the SANGCOM project from then prime contractor Cable & Wireless, was the brother-in-law of Prince Abdullah, then Commander of the National Guard, and now King of Saudi Arabia.

The third set of documents illustrate the dilemmas officials have faced in the past about how to deal with the question of corruption in Britain’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia.   They include then British Ambassador Willie Morris’s paper about arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970 – which puts the issues with extreme frankness.  These papers were withheld in full or heavily redacted when first released by The National Archives, but following my victory in an Information Tribunal only small parts of the documents are still censored.

The fourth set of documents describe how Prince Abdul Rahman (full brother of long-serving Defence Minister Prince Sultan) sued Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) for his commission in the High Court.   AEI was one of the three prime contractors in the deal which started BAE’s uninterrupted relationship with the Royal Saudi Air Force, which continues to this day after almost fifty years.

The fifth set of documents are two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for Britain’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia.  The first is the 1973 MoU which began the Saudi Arabian Air Defence Assistance Project (SADAP), the direct predecessor of the Al Yamamah deal.  The second is the 1985 MoU which began the Al Yamamah project.

The sixth set of documents, from the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, set out British Government policy towards the use of business agents in arms deals the British Government was directly involved in at that time.   The second document is the first of two directives on the subject by Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Frank Cooper.  These were superseded in 1994 by a new directive from then Permanent Secretary Sir Christopher France.