BAE Systems has urged the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to review its abandoned investigation into allegations of corruption.

Bae Chairman Dick Oliver told the BBC he wants the SFO to seek senior legal advice on whether it could mount a successful prosecution against his company, as he believes a review of files will show there is little chance of success in the case.

The SFO dropped its inquiry into the firms’ £43bn al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia 18-months ago under pressure from the UK Government.

Since then the decision has been challenged by arms campaigners, and the High Court has ruled it was unlawful for the SFO to abandon the case on the grounds of national security.

The SFO has appealed to the House of Lords.

Oliver wants the evidence in the al-Yamamah case reviewed whatever the outcome of the appeal – because he fears the reputation of his company will otherwise be indelibly stained by the insinuation that it has something to hide.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh