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Saab targeted in South Korea bribery probe

TT/AFP/The Local · 6 Oct 2009, 13:29

Published: 06 Oct 2009 13:29 GMT+02:00

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The defence ministry said on Tuesday that last month security officials raided the Seoul branch of the Swedish firm as well as the Security Management Institute, a private organization with access to key defence information.

"The raid, which was to secure evidence, followed allegations of bribery," a ministry spokesman told AFP, without disclosing details.

The Swedish defence contractor is suspected of bribing the institute to obtain information regarding a military project to develop new fighter jets, Yonhap news agency said.

Saab has been interested in the project, Yonhap said, adding its potential competitors include US firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

A representative from Saab said the company was unaware of having been targeted in the probe.

“We haven’t received any indication that there is any connection at all indicating we might have paid for some sort of information,” Saab spokesperson Cecilia Schön Jansson told Sweden’s TT news agency.

According to her, none of the three employee’s in Saab’s Seoul office, one of whom is a Swede, are suspected of any crime.

Yonhap quoted Kim Jong-Tae, commander of the Defence Security Command, as saying security authorities were questioning six people.

"The investigation should end at the end of October," Kim was quoted as saying.

Story continues below…

Investigators suspect the institute has presented reports on the fighter project to parliament in favour of Saab, Yonhap said.

South Korea hopes to secure more than 100 new fighters by 2020 to better counter threats from its neighbours. It has purchased 40 F-15Ks from Boeing and plans to buy 21 more by 2012.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:45 October 6, 2009 by bubbagump
I was wondering if someone could tell me how many bribery claims this makes now against SAAB Aerospace in the past 2 years? I know of at least two others where they were caught bribing local officials to purchase the Gripen. Anyone remember more? At what point do we ask this organization to shut down or at the very least begin the prosecution of the leadership of SAAB Aero? Wow... each time they claim to not even know about the probe. Of course you didn't know, or you would have destroyed evidence. I agree that they should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but again, wow...
18:59 October 6, 2009 by mkvgtired
bubbagump, it is only a big deal if it is a US company. If it is Swedish just brush the allegations under the rug or somehow allege unfair competition by Boeing or Lockheed Martin so the American bashing can begin. Standard policy really.
13:09 October 7, 2009 by Rick Methven
You guys no JackS**t about this. Just another bit of Swede bashing.

I have spent 40 years in the Aerospace Industry including a stint working for SAAB as an aircraft salesman. SAAB has lost many contracts purely because It does NOT bribe whereas competitors do. This whole Korean thing is most probably because some official did not get the backhander he wanted. It's a dog eat dog world out there. One of these days I might write a book about it.
10:29 October 12, 2009 by Jan-Bug
Finally a comment from someone who knows what he is talking about. Thank you Rick Methven.

And yes, you should most definitley write a book about it. I'll be the first to purchase it.
02:48 October 15, 2009 by Davyboy
Totally agree with Rick Methven. I would put another suggestion forward. Have a careful read of the related link below - and then ask yourself, who would benefit the most from all this?

What is a bit stupid is that Saab are being accused of leaking information on the proposed Korean fighter. Why on earth would they leak information on a business venture they want to secure. Who would they leak it to? It'd just ridiculous. The whole accusation against the Saab Group has got a bit of a funny smell about it. As we'd say in the UK, it seems like a bit of a 'stitch up'.

Link:- www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/6-52804.aspx
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