Britain’s Serious Fraud Office launches a formal investigation into suspected fraud, bribery and corruption in connection with commercial plane sales by Airbus.
(AIRBUS HANDOUT) – Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has launched a formal investigation into suspected fraud, bribery and corruption in connection with commercial plane sales by Airbus, parent company Airbus Group said on Sunday (August 7).
A UK government agency this year suspended the issue of export credits to Airbus, citing discrepancies in declarations by the plane maker on the use of third-party intermediaries during jet sale negotiations.
The agency, UK Export Finance, had said it was referring the discrepancies to the SFO, which would decide whether to launch a criminal investigation.
In a statement the company said it had been informed by the SFO that it has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in the civil aviation business of Airbus Group relating to irregularities concerning third party consultants.
It added that the Airbus Group continues to cooperate with the SFO.
“It is certainly a worrying sign that you’ve got this major investigation but these things tend to run and run. If you look at the history of BAE and Rolls Royce when their own questions have come under the spotlight, there’s nothing too much to worry about in terms of share price performance,” said Chris Beauchamp, Senior Analyst at IG.
French and German agencies have also halted export credits to the plane maker, which support deliveries to airlines with limited access to commercial funds.