Airbus faces lengthy probe
PARIS/LONDON: Airbus faces years of investigation by French and UK authorities into allegations of corruption over jet sales, people familiar with the case said on Friday, playing down a newspaper report of a potentially rapid settlement.
The London-based Evening Standard reported 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 “1 billion pound-plus” fine, the report said, but experts said it was premature to talk about a settlement in an inquiry widely expected to drag on for years.
The report quoted a source close to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as saying SFO head David Green hoped to agree a DPA with Airbus before leaving in April next year. The SFO and Airbus declined to comment on the report which comes as questions hover over the SFO’s future, following proposals to fold it into another crime agency.