US DOJ Probes Raytheon's Alleged Bribery Payments to Qatar Armed Forces Contractor: Report
05:55 GMT 08.09.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
Over the past seven years, Raytheon has reportedly signed a number of hefty defence contracts with Qatar worth more than $7 billion, including those related to building and servicing the US Patriot missile system.
American authorities are probing Raytheon Technologies Corp.'s dealings with a Qatar Armed Forces (QAF) defence contractor, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has cited unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed the inquiry is looking into whether payments by Raytheon - one of the nation's largest weapons makers
- to a consultant for the Qatar Armed Forces may have been bribes intended for Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the brother of the Qatari emir.
According to the insiders, inquiries by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) came after a lawsuit on the matter was dismissed last year on jurisdictional grounds.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California in 2019, reportedly included allegations that Raytheon had pumped about 7 million Qatari riyal, or $1.9 million, in payoffs through Digital Soula Systems, a Doha-based defence and security-consulting firm that was partially owned by Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad.
The legal complaint was lodged by Tarek Fouad, a dual US and British citizen and one of Digital Soula Systems' former directors, who accused Raytheon of an "apparent effort" to influence Qatar's acquisition of defence systems, the sources argued.
Fouad claimed that between 2014 and 2016, Raytheon ordered a number of payments to Digital Soula Systems-associated bank accounts to compensate for defence studies that the defence contractor would produce for Raytheon.
In 2020, a district court judge dismissed Fouad's lawsuit, agreeing with the QAF's previous claims that the US was an improper forum to resolve the spat. In February 2021, an appeals court upheld the court's ruling.
Both the SEC and DOJ share authority to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bans companies from paying bribes to foreign public officials to obtain a business advantage.
The document also obliges firms to maintain controls in order to prevent such payments. Neither the SEC nor the DOJ has commented on The Wall Street Journal report yet.