Airbus prepares to settle bribery case for around US$3 billion


Airbus has confirmed its intention to settle allegations of bribery brought about by three countries – the U.S., the U.K. and France at the end of a four-year investigation involving the U.S Department of Justice, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office and France’s Parquet National Financier.

The agreement is still subject to approval by the courts in the three countries and should be confirmed by the end of February this year, at the very latest. Shares in Airbus rose, despite the size of the proposed settlement, by up to 3% and Airbus has confirmed it has the cash to make the settlement.

The allegations related to Airbus’ use of intermediaries to secure orders for its aircraft as it sought to compete head to head with Boeing, it’s major rival. It was the then CEO of Airbus, Tom Enders, who launched an internal probe into how Airbus was securing orders for its jets, the result of which saw a massive reshuffle of senior positions within the European planemaker. Enders retired at the end of last year after “cleaning the house”, while Kiran Rao, who was due to take over from sales chief John Leahy, has also left the company, as has Leahy, who has retired. Fabrice Bregier, Enders’ long-time second-in-command and a candidate to become CEO, was also forced out.

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