Shares in Airbus fell 9 percent on Thursday on the news published in Le Monde newspaper, before recovering to €83.37 ($95.18) in late-afternoon trading, a fall of 4 per cent on the day.
The French daily newspaper reported that the US Department of Justice had opened an official inquiry into Airbus.
“Airbus is cooperating with the US authorities in close coordination” with investigators in the UK and France, the company said in a statement. The UK’s Serious Fraud Office and France’s Parquet National Financier have been probing possible bribery in Airbus’s passenger jet business for some time.
A question of middlemen
In February Airbus said it had been asked to supply information to US authorities about the use of middlemen in obtaining sales. This suggested that the United States could be drawn into the UK and French proceedings against alleged corruption.
The investigations concern the alleged use of about 250 middlemen with hundreds of millions of euros at their disposal for the securing of plane sales.
Airbus opened its own probe in 2016 and executives say the use of the agents was stopped in 2014 and a number of high-level, senior executives have since left or retired from the company.
An Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range being built for Singapore Airlines in France
The US authorities are understood to be pressing for progress in the investigations which have been slowed by French regulations limiting the information foreign agencies can collect, or their ability to directly question French citizens.
Airbus agreed to pay €81 million to settle a German bribery investigation into sales of fighter jets dating back to 2002.
Read more: German military under fire over Angela Merkel’s plane problems
Airbus also said in 2017 that it had reported inaccuracies to US regulators relating to US controls on arms exports which govern the use of commissions.
The corporation has been reorganized in recent years and since 2017 Airbus SE has had its corporate headquarters in Leiden, Netherlands and its main office in Toulouse, France.
jm/msh (Reuters, AP)
Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
Credit: Source link