It has brought the deal to the brink of collapse.
We’ve broken the story online because the redoubtable Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News has been chasing the same tale. The main elements are:
– MoD police are investigating the access to information given to bidders and the relationship between a military officer, who has since left the forces, and CHC, a Canadian helicopter operator that is part of the Soteria consortium chosen as preferred bidder.
– Royal Bank of Scotland have pulled out of the Soteria consortium because their concerns over the allegations. It will make it much harder for the deal to be revived, even if the concerns over improper conduct prove to be unfounded.
– Ministers are urgently examining options on how to proceed, including re-tendering the contract and scrapping the private finance initiative model altogether.
This is the deal, remember, that so angered Prince William he raised his concerns with the prime minister.