Airbus to pay $99 million fine in Eurofighter case
Airbus has agreed to pay a fine of $99 million to settle a corruption probe into the 2003 sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria, German prosecutors said on 9 February.
The investigation did not find evidence of bribery to secure the lucrative contract, the Munich prosecutors said in a statement.
However, they said Airbus had failed in its supervisory duty by allowing former management to make multi-million-dollar 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 probe first opened in 2012 ‘has been terminated’.
Authorities in Austria however are still investigating claims bribers were paid to land the $2.45 billion sale of 18 Eurofighter jets to Vienna, a deal long alleged to have been very shady.
In 2017, the Austrian government also launched a lawsuit against Airbus, seeking up $1.35 billion in damages. It accuses the aircraft giant of deliberately hoodwinking Vienna over the order.
Current Airbus CEO, 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 the UK and France, have long cast a pall over one of Europe's most successful and best known companies.
Airbus announced in December 2017 that Enders would not seek reappointment when his current term ends in April 2019.