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Airbus to pay €81.25 million to end German corruption probe

Jaclyn Jaeger | February 12, 2018

German prosecutors have ordered Airbus to pay a fine of € 81.25 million to end a five-year bribery investigation concerning the sale of Eurofighter aircraft to the Republic of Austria in 2003.

In a statement, Airbus said that sale has been terminated. The result of the investigation by the Munich Public Prosecutor (Staatsanwaltschaft München I), which had been ongoing since 2012, “did not confirm the allegations of bribery,” the company stated.

To resolve the investigation, the Munich Public Prosecutor issued an administrative penalty notice against Airbus Defence and Space GmbH under the German Act on Administrative Misdemeanours (Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz) amounting to € 81.25 million.

The total amount comprises an administrative fine of € 250,000 and a disgorgement of € 81 million. “Airbus Defence and Space GmbH has accepted this notice,” the company stated.

The notice is based on allegations of a negligent breach of supervisory duties of non-identified members of Airbus Defence and Space GmbH’s former management. The notice alleges that certain former management negligently failed to ensure proper internal controls that would have prevented employees from making payments to business partners without proven documented services in exchange.

According to Airbus, the notice “explicitly recognizes the major efforts undertaken by Airbus and its management since 2012, which have resulted in a new compliance culture and a serious compliance programme.”

Airbus noted that, since the beginning of the investigation, it has fully cooperated with the Munich Public Prosecutor, including the provision of an independent fact-finding report of the law firm Clifford Chance, which Airbus shared with the Munich Public Prosecutor in 2014.