Air­bus faces years of in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Irish Examiner - - Business -

Air­bus faces years of in­ves­ti­ga­tion by French and UK au­thor­i­ties into al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion over jet sales. There had been re­ports that Bri­tish and French pros­e­cu­tors met last month to dis­cuss the terms of a set­tle­ment deal known as a de­ferred pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment (DPA) fol­low­ing a probe into the use of mid­dle­men to sell jet­lin­ers. That could re­sult in a fine of over £1bn (€1.13bn), it was re­ported, but ex­perts said it was pre­ma­ture to talk about a set­tle­ment in an inquiry widely ex­pected to drag on for years. Bri­tain’s Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice head David Green had hoped to agree a DPA with Air­bus be­fore leav­ing in April next year. The in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­gan af­ter Air­bus drew the at­ten­tion of reg­u­la­tors to in­ac­cu­rate dec­la­ra­tions it had made to Bri­tain’s ex­port credit fi­nance agency over pay­ments to sales agents. The fraud of­fice launched its in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Au­gust 2016, fol­lowed seven months later by the Par­quet Na­tional Fi­nancier, which legal ex­perts say makes it a rel­a­tively young in­ves­ti­ga­tion for such a com­plex case. Air­bus has said the process may be a long one. Some an­a­lysts say the com­pany could none­the­less face a record fine once the pro­ceed­ings have played out.

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