January 28, 2020

Airbus nears global bribery settlement

Airbus SE announced on January 28, 2020 that it had reached an agreement in principle with enforcement authorities in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom to resolve allegations of bribery and corruption, as well as claims that the company made inaccurate statements on filings required by the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

Following this announcement, the UK Serious Fraud Office confirmed in a brief news release that it had reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Airbus, subject to approval by the court.  A hearing is scheduled for January 31, 2020 in the Queen’s Bench Division.  Neither the French Parquet National Financier (PNF) nor the US Department of Justice has commented on the agreements with Airbus, but media sources report that court hearings will be held in France and the US on January 31st as well. 

The corruption probe was initiated by the SFO in 2016 after Airbus self-reported the results of an internal investigation.  The company later revealed that French authorities were in investigating allegations of bribery, and that the DOJ had opened an investigation in December 2018.

According to Airbus, potential penalties may amount to €3.6 billion (approximately $3.96 billion).  The company indicated that it is continuing to cooperate with the authorities. 

Airbus press release| SFO news release