Airbus (AIR.PA) said on Tuesday that it has agreed with the idea to settle with British, French, and U.S. authorities over an investigation into accusations of corruption and bribery.
The investigation by French and British authorities
French and British authorities have investigated the European planemaker for doubted corruption for jet sales that date back to over a decade. It has also confronted the U.S. investigations over alleged violations regarding controls over export.
Airbus, which dominates the commercial airliner market alongside U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N), stated it could not comment on accurate details of its talks with authorities, including the amount it is expected to pay out in the settlements. According to some press reports a figure of about 3 billion Euros ($3.3 billion).
Yet, Airbus shares increased, as traders and analysts accepted the fact that Airbus was administering to draw a line under the affair. The stock went up by 2.3% in early trading.
“Airbus confirms that it has reached an agreement in principle with the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the U.S. authorities,” the Franco-German company expressed in a statement.
“These agreements are made in the context of investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption as well as compliance with the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). They remain subject to approval by French and UK courts and the U.S. court and regulator,” it said.
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies accepted the settlement; however, they said via a note to clients that the reported cost of 3 billion Euros was “toward the upper end of what we thought probable.”
A note by traders from Bank of America (BofA) said the settlement erased a negative “overhang” on the stock.
Airbus fired 100 people
Airbus had already gotten rid of more than 100 people because of compliance and ethics issues as a result of its inquiry into the corruption accusations.
The inspection by British and French authorities started after Airbus gathered the attention of regulators about erroneous declarations it had made to export credit finance agency of Britain overpayments to sales agents. The SFO rolled out its inquiry in August 2016, followed by the PNF seven months later.
The center of the case constituted an almost 10-year-old system of third-party agents or intermediaries run from a now-dissolved headquarters unit which at its peak had about 250 people across parts of the world and several hundreds of millions of euros of payments a year, sources who knew about the matter have explained. Moreover, a German inquiry about the potential misuse of client documents by the Airbus is ongoing.
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