AUSTRIA: A count has been acquitted of charges he covertly helped Britain's biggest arms group distribute £10.5million to win weapons deals in central and eastern Europe.

Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, 59, had insisted during his trial he served only as a well-connected adviser. He was given a two-month suspended sentence on a charge of falsifying evidence. Judge Stefan Apostol told the count: "This is not a clean bill of health. The whole thing stinks."

But prosecutors had been unable to prove charges of money laundering and perjury that carried penalties of up to five years in jail, he said.

BAE Systems was fined more than £281m by the United States and Britain in 2010, following corruption investigations into arms deals in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

It was not a defendant in the Vienna trial and said it was not asked by Austrian authorities to take part in any inquiry.