Airbus to pay €81m to end German corruption probe

February 10, 2018 @ 1:59AM

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German prosecutors on Friday said Airbus had agreed to pay a fine of €81.25 million (US$99 million) to settle a corruption probe into the 2003 sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria.

The investigation did not fine evidence of bribery to secure the lucrative contract, the Munich prosecutors said in a statement.

But they said Airbus had failed it its supervisory duty by allowing former management to make multi-million-euro payments linked to the deal for “unclear purposes.”

The European aircraft manufacturer said in its own statement it had accepted the fine, meaning that the probed first opened in 2012 “has been terminated.”

Authorities in Austria however are still investigating claims bribers were paid to land the two-billion-euro sale of 18 Eurofighter jets to Vienna, a deal long alleged to have been very shady.

The Austrian government last year also launched a lawsuit against Airbus, seeking up 1.1 billion euros in damages. It accuses the aircraft giant of deliberately hoodwinking Vienna over the order.

Current Airbus chief Tom Enders was head of the defence division of European Aeronautic Defence Space Company at the time the deal was struck.

The corruption probes in Germany and Austria, as well separate graft investigations in Britain and France, have long cast a pall over one of Europe’s most successful and best known companies.

Airbus announced in December that embattled Enders would not seek reappointment when his current term ends in April 2019. — AFP

A man inspects a model of an Airbus A350-1000 at the Airbus booth in the exhibition hall of the Singapore Airshow at the Changi Exhibition Centre in Singapore, 07 February 2018. The Singapore Airshow will take place from 06 to 11 February 2018 and will showcase aviation and defense technologies from around the world. EPA-EFE pic