The Lockheed Scandal
Scandal rocked the Royal Family in 1976 when it was revealed that Prince Bernhard had accepted a US$1.1 million bribe from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Corporation to influence the Dutch government's purchase of fighter aircraft. At the time he had served on more than 300 corporate boards and committees worldwide and had been praised in the Netherlands for his efforts to promote the economic well-being of the country. Prime Minister of the Netherlands Joop den Uyl ordered an inquiry into the Lockheed affair, while Prince Bernhard refused to answer reporters' questions, stating: "I am above such things".
The Dutch and international press headlined the stories for months, providing proof of Prince Bernhard's Reiter SS membership and details of his numerous extramarital affairs, including the purchase of a luxurious Paris apartment for his mistress Hélène Grinda, with whom he had an illegitimate daughter, Alexia. (Bernhard also had a second illegitimate daughter, Alicia, in the USA.)
On 26 August 1976, a toned-down, but nonetheless devastating, report on Prince Bernhard's activities was released to a shocked Dutch public. The Prince's own letter of 1974, to Lockheed Corporation, demanding "commissions" be paid to him on Dutch government aircraft purchases was very damaging evidence of improper conduct by the inspector-general of the Dutch armed forces. Criminal charges were not pressed by the government out of respect for Queen Juliana, whose later abdication was tacitly understood to be directly related to her husband's conduct.
Prince Bernhard resigned as inspector-general of the Dutch armed forces. This meant that he was not allowed to wear a uniform in public, but it did not stop him from attending the 1979 funeral of Lord Mountbatten in London in full colours.
Prime Minister Joop den Uyl made a statement in parliament and told the delegates that the Prince would also resign from his various high-profile positions in businesses, charities, and other institutions. The Dutch states-general voted against criminal prosecution. Prince Bernhard turned over the presidency of the international World Wildlife Fund to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Dutch Royal family worked hard to rehabilitate the Prince's name, though other scandals were to be revealed in later years.
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... In early 1976, Japan was scandalized by news of the Lockheed bribery scandals, and the involvement of the highest levels of Japanese political power, including Yoshio Kodama ... He was accused of accepting more than seven million dollars from the Lockheed Corporation to bribe Japanese officials to facilitate sales of their airplanes ... adhered had generally remained hidden from public eye until Kodama's exposure in the Lockheed scandal ...
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