Paris: Shares in European aerospace group Airbus tumbled on Thursday after a French report that US authorities are investigating the firm for suspected bribery and corruption, exposing it to billions of dollars in potential fines.
It was the latest blow to Airbus as it tries to recover from several corruption probes before a new CEO takes the helm next year. French daily Le Monde reported that the US Department of Justice had opened an inquiry into “improper practices” at the end of 2017, but only informed Airbus it was under investigation at the end of the summer. In a statement, the company said it was cooperating with US authorities.
The inquiry stems from Airbus’s disclosure in early 2016 that it had neglected to inform authorities about payments to middlemen in securing several contracts, in particular in Asia. Such third-party payments are allowed under anti-corruption guidelines set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as long as the recipients are clearly identified and the compensation fully reported. — AFP