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date: 31 March 2020

Lockheed Scandal

A Dictionary of Contemporary World History

Christopher Riches,

Jan Palmowski

Lockheed Scandal 

By 1971 the US Lockheed Aircraft Corporation was in severe financial trouble and it embarked on a policy of allocating $24 million as bribe money to win foreign orders. In February 1976 revelations to a US Senate subcommittee led to official action in Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy. In Japan payments had allegedly been made to ex-Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei who received 500 million yen to ensure that All Nippon Airways bought Lockheed aircraft. Tanaka was eventually sentenced to four years' imprisonment in 1983, but remained an influential figure in Japanese politics. More importantly, the scandal highlighted a general occurrence of corruption in Japanese political circles. In the Netherlands the husband of Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard, Inspector-General of the Armed Forces, was discredited for having received $1.1 million, while in Italy two former defence ministers were named as having purchased Lockheed aircraft for the Italian air force against the taking of bribes.