Kerry and Raytheon deny role in probe
Their remarks followed a Times of London story, suggesting that the defense contractor and the Massachusetts Democrat, who has long had close ties to the Waltham -based company, played a role in Justice probing allegations that BAE paid bribes to a Saudi prince.
"At no time did Senator Kerry's office contact Raytheon about this, at no time did Raytheon contact our office about it, and no irresponsible spasm from the London Times changes the fact that they just got it wrong," said Amy Brundage, Kerry's press secretary.
Last month, BAE, one of the world's largest arms makers, said Justice was probing accusations that the company had illegally sweetened a Saudi oil-for-arms deal with the British government. It allegedly funneled millions of dollars through a US bank to an account controlled by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
A Kerry aide confirmed that Kerry sent letters to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson about the BAE allegations a few days before the company said Justice was investigating "compliance with anti corruption laws, including the company's business concerning the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." Kerry has not received a response, the aide said.
David Albritton, a Raytheon spokesman, said yesterday that the company "has had no involvement in the US Department of Justice investigation of BAE, and we have never had any conversations with Senator Kerry, the US Department of Justice, or any other legislators regarding this matter."
BAE has denied accusations that it paid kickbacks to members of the Saudi royal family as part of an $86 billion Al-Yamamah contract for the British government to supply more than 100 BAE planes to the Saudi government in 1985. The company did not return a call for comment yesterday.
"We stand by our story," said Tom Baldwin of the Times of London. "We accurately reported the suspicions of [British] ministry of defense officials, and we gave John Kerry's office an opportunity over several days to respond in detail to the allegations."
Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that Raytheon had received a $304 million contract from the US Department of Defense to upgrade radar used to help track and intercept missiles. The company will develop, test and maintain radar software for use in the Ballistic Missile Defense System.