A South African corruption investigation discovered that British defense
manufacturer BAE paid $150 million in bribes to local officials, in order to
obtain orders for 24 Hawk jet trainers (costing over half a billion dollars).
These aircraft cost $13 million each, which was nearly twice the price other
manufacturers were charging for similar aircraft. The first Hawks were delivered two years ago,
and the original deal was signed in 1999.
BAE also got
into trouble for paying similar size bribes to Saudi Arabian officials to
facilitate a deal for Eurofighters. When British investigators sought to
prosecute BAE, the Saudis threatened to cut off counter-terrorism cooperation
if the British investigators did not back off. The British government ordered
the prosecution halted.