Executives of two British security companies were among 22 people arrested in the US on Monday charged with charges of bribery, corruption and money laundering, it has been confirmed.
David Painter and Lee Wares, who are chairman and director of a British firm that sells armoured vehicles, and Pankesh Patel, the managing director of a British company that is a sales agent for security products, were arrested on Monday.
The arrests follow a three-year undercover sting operation by the FBI.
Raids were carried out in the US and throughout England with City of London police raiding seven business and residential premises in England during the joint operation.
It is claimed that the men offered to pay a 20 per cent "commission" as a bribe to an African defence minister to win part of a $15 million (Â£9.1m) deal to equip the country's presidential guard.
A sales agent who they believed represented the defence minister was in fact an undercover FBI agent.
If convicted on corruption and bribery charges, the 22 would face a maximum prison sentence of five years. However it is further alleged that they were involved in money laundering, which would carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Head of the City of London Police economic crime directorate Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Head said: "Combating overseas corruption is an important part of the UK's fight against economic crime.
"The operational activity of the past 24 hours displays our commitment to tackling those who corrupt and bribe their way across the globe and should stand as a warning to others who are involved in similar activity."