Is the international arms trade above the law? By deciding to put a stop to a major investigation implicating BAE Systems in a major corruption scandal concerning the Al Yamamah ‘Contract of the Century’ for the sale of aircraft to Saudi Arabia, the British authorities maintained that it was necessary to ‘. . . balance the need to maintain a state of law on the one hand, and the larger public interest on the other’. Against a background of Saudi threats to end cooperation against al-Qaeda and to cancel new and juicy contracts, this decision appears to weaken international efforts to fight corruption.