Procurement: The Sting


January 22, 2010: British and American investigators arrested 21 defense firm employees, and charged them with paying bribes to obtain weapons contracts. At the core of the operation was a U.S. FBI sting operation, that used a team of undercover operatives who successfully passed themselves off as arms purchasing officials from an African country. Those arrested fell for the sting, and paid money to the accounts the undercover agents provided.

Corruption in defense buying is a major problem in most countries. Nations cursed with this problem often end up paying more, like 20 percent or more, for weapons, to cover the bribes and skimming. The FBI operation is working the problem from the other end, putting the fear of prosecution into the companies being asked to pay bribes to get the sales. However, the FBI only nailed smaller arms and equipment sellers. The major firms, that account for the majority of bribes paid, are better equipped to detect this kind of sting. But it's a start.



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