British defense contractor under fraud investigation over suspected corruption in Algeria

The SFO investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, bribery and corruption. (Photo courtesy: SFO)
Updated 19 April 2018
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British defense contractor under fraud investigation over suspected corruption in Algeria

  • Ultra said in a statement that it had referred itself to the British fraud authorities and that the SFO investigation concerned the business conduct of Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons
  • The SFO’s investigation into Ultra, which makes military electronics for land, air and sea forces, follows probes into other British companies operating in the defense sector including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems

LONDON: Ultra Electronics on Thursday announced that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had opened a criminal investigation into “suspected corruption in the conduct of business” by the British defense contractor in Algeria.
Ultra said in a statement that it had referred itself to the British fraud authorities and that the SFO investigation concerned the business conduct of Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons.
“Given the stage of these matters, it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of this matter may have on the group,” Ultra said, adding that it continued to co-operate with the SFO.
The SFO in a statement said it was looking into Ultra but said it could not provide additional information as the investigation “is live.”
Ultra shares were down 6 percent in early trade.
The SFO’s investigation into Ultra, which makes military electronics for land, air and sea forces, follows probes into other British companies operating in the defense sector including Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.
Ultra Electronics’s biggest market is North America with just 17 percent of its revenue coming from what it calls “rest of the world.” It does not mention Algeria in its annual report.
Ultra, which last month abandoned a bid for US company Sparton Corp. due to anti-trust concerns, is currently without a chief executive.
Douglas Caster assumed the role of executive chairman last year after the previous CEO quit. New CEO Simon Pryce is due to join in June.
The SFO has been criticized by lawmakers in the past over its efforts to bring companies and senior individuals to book. More recently it has secured deferred prosecution agreements with Rolls-Royce and Tesco and filed unprecedented criminal charges against Barclays and former senior executives.


Israel showed Russia proof Syria was responsible for downing plane

Updated 21 September 2018
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Israel showed Russia proof Syria was responsible for downing plane

JERUSALEM: Israel provided Moscow with proof it was not responsible for the downing of a Russian plane in Syria, an Israeli military official said on Friday.
Fifteen Russian crew were killed when the IL-20 surveillance plane crashed near Latakia in northern Syria on Monday. Russia has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit a target in the area.
An Israeli delegation including its air force chief and other officers traveled to Moscow to brief about the incident.
“We proved how the Syrian reckless anti-air fire was the direct cause of hitting the Russian aircraft,” said the military official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. “They fired quite recklessly and irresponsibly and unprofessionally into the air long after our planes were no longer there.”