Airbus Agrees to Resolve Corruption Issues with France, Britain and the United States

On Tuesday January 28, Airbus announced that it had signed an “agreement in principle” with the French, British and American authorities, in particular in the face of allegations of “corruption”. “Airbus confirms that it has reached an agreement in principle with the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, the British Serious Fraud Office and the United States,” he said in a statement.

According to the British press, the agreement would amount to several billion euros.

Agreements “subject to court approval”

These agreements “remain subject to the approval of French and British courts, and American courts and regulatory authorities,” said Airbus in a short press release. “For legal reasons, Airbus cannot comment on the details of its discussions with the investigating authorities,” added the company.

Airbus does not specify the amount of these agreements. Such a resolution of the case would in any case avoid the aircraft manufacturer a conviction and heavy fines.

The suspicions hanging over the company would implicate the top executives of Airbus, including the former CEO Tom Enders. These alleged acts of corruption include two separate files in the civil and military contracts.

The first is linked to the sale of 18 Eurofighter combat aircraft for 2 billion euros in 2003. The second relates to commercial aviation activities in the United Kingdom. The French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) opened an investigation into this last subject in 2016.

At the end of 2018, it was the turn of the American prosecution, the Department of Justice (DoJ), to investigate the European group. Airbus had discovered in 2013 that a number of transactions carried out by an internal entity, called the Strategy and Marketing Organization (SMO), were not compliant.

He had notably found contradictions in the amounts of consultant commissions and established at the end of 2015 that the commercial agents in certain transactions had not been identified with the export assistance agencies.

The agreements reached “remain subject to the approval” of the authorities of the three countries, the statement added, adding that the group will not “comment on the details of its discussions with the authorities in charge of the investigation”.