The Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) is investigating allegations that the European defence group, European Aeronautic Defence & Space (“EADS”), gave Saudi Arabian officials luxury cars, jewellery and briefcases of cash in the process of securing a £2 billion communications contract.

The investigation was reportedly triggered by a former employee of the company who has claimed that he was dismissed after raising concerns about the payment of bribes. Lieutenant Ian Foxley, who worked for the EADS subsidiary GPT Special Project Management Limited, claims that gifts were given to Saudi officials by middlemen.

The Ministry of Defence, who helped coordinate the contract for the upgrade of the satellite and intranet systems of the Saudi National Guard, is assisting the SFO with its investigation. A spokesman for EADS confirmed that they are carrying out their own investigation and that they are aware of the SFO’s involvement.