Defence firm BAE Systems faces an "unlimited fine" that could surpass £30m for failing to keep proper records of payments to an adviser in Tanzania.
BAE made payments totalling about £7.7m to two companies controlled by the Tanzania-based businessman Shailesh Vithlani over five years for helping it win a contract to install a radar at Dar-es-Salaam airport, the Southwark crown court heard.
Victor Temple QC, prosecuting for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said BAE employed overt and covert advisers and looked for ways to hide details of names and payments of the latter, one of whom was Vithlani.
On 16 February this year, BAE pleaded guilty to one count of breaching its duty to keep accounting records and agreed to pay £30m to end the case.
However, Justice Bean on Monday delayed his decision and said he would not sentence BAE for accounting irregularities before hearing how the contractor used the payments.