UK anti-fraud investigators lose track of docs

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Serious Fraud Office temporarily lost track of thousands of documents gathered as part of its investigation into allegations of corruption at defense company BAE Systems PLC, the agency acknowledged Thursday.

The U.K.’s main investigator into corporate crimes said 32,000 documents, along with audio tapes and other electronic media, were mistakenly shipped to the wrong place after the end of its investigation into the British military contractor.

The SFO said that when a party who had supplied evidence to the investigation requested it back, it was mistakenly sent material from nearly 60 other sources between May and October of 2012.

The office didn’t specify where the misdirected material was sent in the first place but added that 98 percent of the missing documents had been recovered. It added that none of the misplaced material, which made up just 3 percent of the data in the case, was related to national security.

BAE was suspected of using bribes to win contracts in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa when investigators on both sides of the Atlantic began poring over the company’s deals. It eventually paid hundreds of millions of dollars in a settlement with American and British authorities in 2010.

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Online:

Serious Fraud Office: http://www.sfo.gov.uk

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