Bribes Suspected in Fighter Jet Deal

A Saab-owned company with a hand in a deal to sell Saab-made fighter jets to the South African government has been accused of funneling money to a former South African official for bribes. A British Police investigation documented 19 payments totaling over 6.7 million dollars from Sanip to Fana Hlongwane, former council to South Africa's defense minister.

According to South African prosecutor Christer van der Kwast, the payments, made between 2003 and 2005, were for services which were difficult or impossible to define. A report from the British Police claims that the money was meant to grease the palms of various people in South African public authorities in order to get the fighter jet order approved.

Swedish Radio News reports that a British company, BAE, was also involved in the deal. Saab has denied that it had anything to do with Fana Hlongwane. Authorities in Sweden gave up on an investigation into the deal last year. South African prosecutor Christer van der Kwast said it will be difficult to find out to whom the bribes went.

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