BAE admits using private eyes against CAAT

BAE Systems has admitted that it paid private investigators to gather information about a campaign group it is battling in court.

The aerospace giant confessed that it paid £2,500 per month to LigneDeux Associates, a private investigation agency which passed information about Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) to BAE’s director of security, Mike McGinty.

BAE says it expected Paul Mercer to operate lawfully, but he has admitted providing them with a legally privileged document internal to CAAT.

CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said: “Just as it seemed that BAE’s reputation could sink no lower, they have admitted paying an agent to investigate peaceful campaigners. BAE’s underhand methods further call into question the intimate relationship between BAE and the Government.”

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (25 January 2007), the document was leaked to BAE ahead of a judicial review that pitched CAAT and social justice movement The Corner House against the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Attorney General and the Prime Minister.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (18 December 2006), the battle concerns CAAT’s allegation that an investigation by the SFO into claims that BAE bribed Saudi Arabian officials was unlawfully dropped as a result of pressure from the Government.

The campaigners have instructed a heavyweight team on the action which includes Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC and top judicial review silk David Pannick QC.