BAE: 'a knowing and wilful misleading of the US government'
The charge to which BAE Systems has pleaded guilty in the US is chronically embarrassing for Britain's biggest manufacturer.
The US Department of Justice says that, from 2000 to 2002, BAE knowingly and wilfully misled the US government by failing to honour a pledge that it would be rigorous in ensuring that no payments would be made to officials of governments when trying to win business from those governments.
The charge filed in a District of Columbia court claims that after May and November 2001 vast secret payments - of over £135m and $14m - were made by BAE through an offshore vehicle to marketing advisers and agents without proper scrutiny.
The court document also contains details of £19m in secret payments by BAE to an unnamed person who helped BAE sell airplane leases to the Hungarian and Czech governments.
The Department of Justice also lists services such as holidays provided to an unnamed Saudi public official and cash transfers to a Swiss bank account that it says were linked to the £40bn Al-Yamamah contract to supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
BAE says there has been a revolution in its corporate culture and it has cleaned up its act.
But the US Department of Justice's charge is serious and damaging to BAE's reputation.
What did BAE stand to gain from what the Department of Justice calls its various false statements to the US government?
More than $200m by the Justice Department's reckoning.
BAE presumably now reckons it has paid too steep a price for that revenue.