Tuesday 28 January 2020 7:35 pm

Airbus settles bribery allegations for €3.6bn

Airbus has agreed a settlement with French, British and US authorities for €3.6bn (£3bn) following investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed that a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) had been reached “in principle” between itself and the company.

Airbus said:

Airbus confirms that it has reached agreement in principle with the French Parquet National Financier, the UK Serious Fraud Office [SFO] and the US authorities.

These agreements are made in the context of investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption as well as compliance with the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (Itar). They remain subject to approval by French and UK courts and US court and regulator.

For legal reasons, Airbus cannot make any comments on the details of its discussions with the investigating authorities.

DPAs were introduced in 2014 as a way for the prosecution of companies to be suspended for a certain period if the organisation meets specific goals.

The agreement between the SFO and Airbus is subject to the approval of the court. A public hearing will be held on 31 January.

In 2017 Rolls Royce agreed a £497m DPA with the SFO and also came to agreements with US and Brazilian prosecutors, taking the total cost of the settlement to £617m.

The investigation of individual Airbus executives remains ongoing and could lead to prosecutions.

In May, City A.M. reported that Airbus could come to a global corruption settlement by the end of 2019 at the earliest.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and its French equivalent opened a probe into the plane maker after the firm reported itself in 2016. 

The allegations of bribery and corruption concern the use of middlemen in the sales of planes.

Airbus asked the SFO to examine documentation it had about the use of overseas agents in 2016. That prompted the SFO to open an investigation into possible fraud, bribery and corruption in Airbus’ civil aviation business.

France and the UK have investigated the French-based manufacturer for suspected corruption dating back more than 10 years.

In the US, Airbus is accused of violating export controls.

The SFO declined to comment.