Airbus appoints independent panel in anti-graft probe
PARIS: Airbus has appointed an independent review panel, including two former ministers, to oversee its anti-corruption practices after Britain and France launched fraud and bribery investigations into the sale of jetliners.
The European airplane maker said yesterday the three advisers, who include former German finance minister Theo Waigel and former French European affairs minister Noelle Lenoir, would report to chief executive Tom Enders and the board.
Airbus is in the midst of a sweeping compliance shake-up after acknowledging making flawed applications for export credit support from Britain for commercial jets.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office launched a bribery and fraud investigation last year after Airbus notified it of misstatements and omissions in its past declarations on the use of middlemen, while applying for export credits.
France followed suit with a similar investigation earlier this year and authorities in the two countries have said they will cooperate in the inquiries, the most farreaching to target the 47-yearold company’s civil activities.
Airbus, which also faces an investigation into fighter sales in Austria where it has called recent allegations unfounded, has pledged to cooperate with all ongoing investigations.
The independent panel would have access to all areas of the company and take a “hard look” at its systems and culture, said Enders in a statement.
The decision to appoint an external panel was voluntary, said Airbus, though legal experts said it would have been done only after consulting United Kingdom and French prosecutors. Reuters