Air­bus ap­points in­de­pen­dent panel in anti-graft probe

New Straits Times - - Business | World -

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

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