By Sebastian Jones
In 2001 Princeton University purchased bonds in British arms supplier BAE Systems, essentially giving a $1.5 million dollar loan to a company whose dealings with regimes like Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe have come under repeated scrutiny from investigators, journalists and activists, WPRB has learned.
In Zimbabwe, BAE has been tied to alleged efforts by arms dealer James Bredenkamp to supply the government with military equipment, potentially in violation of sanctions. Just days ago Bredenkamp, who The Guardian claims “acted as BAE’s agent in southern Africa”, had his assets frozen by the United States Treasury Department for his close relationship with Robert Mugabe’s regime.
For years BAE supplied military equipment to Zimbabwe, a relationship that began in the 1980’s when the Zimbabwean Air Force acquired 12 fighter planes from British Aerospace, BAE’s predecessor.
In 2000, the British government imposed an arms embargo against Zimbabwe, yet replacement parts for BAE-manufactured planes arrived as late as 2001, in apparent violation of sanctions, according to a UN report. Those components were allegedly supplied by Bredenkamp, who received £20,000,000 between 2003 and 2005 from BAE, The Financial Times reported this July. The payment served as “the first detailed evidence of a financial relationship” between Bredenkamp and the company. Both have both repeatedly denied violating sanctions. Continue reading