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Germany probes Airbus for bribery

Prosecutors in Munich confirmed Wednesday that Airbus is under investigation for bribery connected with border security contracts in Romania and Saudi Arabia.

Several employees of Airbus Defence and Space, formerly EADS, are the targets of the investigation. The border contracts were worth $3.7 billion.

Airbus is Europe’s biggest defense contractor.

In late 2012, German police raided and searched the German offices of EADS.

Sources then said the raid was connected to an investigation into the defense contractor’s sale of military aircraft to Austria.

Earlier this year, Airbus said the UK Serious Fraud Office questioned some of its employees as part of an investigation into possible corruption at an Airbus subsidiary called GPT Special Project Management Ltd. In a statement, the SFO said a search warrant was executed and a number of arrests were made. 

The SFO launched an investigation in 2012 after a former employee of Britain-based GPT reportedly said the company gave Saudi Arabian officials cars, jewellery, and cash to win a $3 billion communications contract.

Airbus is cooperating with German authorities. “The aerospace giant had apparently been informed in advance of the charges and had already carried out an internal investigation before the raids took place,” Deutsche Welle said Wednesday.

The German press said prosecutors saw evidence of suspicious money transfers between Airbus and Saudi Arabia while investigating the sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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