Categories: commissions, Saudi Arabia

New documents published: How a Saudi Prince sued a British arms company for his commission

Britain’s biggest arms company, BAE Systems, has enjoyed an uninterrupted and lucrative commercial relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defence and Aviation for half a century. In the deal which started the relationship (agreed in 1965), BAE’s predecessor, the British Aircraft Corporation, was one of three British prime contractors, along with Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) and Airwork. Since 1973, BAE has been the sole prime contractor.

Published on this website for the first time today are British Government documents, disclosed following my Information Tribunal victory[1], which describe how Prince Abdul Rahman sued AEI for his commission in the High Court. Here you can read the Prince’s version of events, as set out by his lawyers.

Prince Abdul Rahman was the full brother of Defence Minister Prince Sultan (AEI’s customer). Prince Abdul Rahman and Prince Sultan were both part of the so-called “Sudairi Seven”, a powerful alliance of seven full brothers in the Saudi Royal Family. Prince Sultan later became Crown Prince and remained Defence Minister until his death in 2011. Prince Abdul Rahman later became the Deputy Minister of Defence in the early 1980s, and held this post for many years.

You can read more about how Geoffrey Edwards went about setting up BAE’s long-term relationship in Saudi Arabia, and what happened in Prince Abdul Rahman’s case, hushed up by the British Government at the time, in my book.

[1] These were not included in the 243 pages of documents disclosed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by order of the Tribunal.  However, I had made several other Freedom of Information requests on which the Information Commissioner had not made a decision because he was awaiting the outcome of the Tribunal.  Following the Tribunal’s decision, a further 723 pages of documents had to be disclosed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to these requests, and these included the documents about Prince Abdul Rahman.

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