Airbus has reached a settlement with authorities in the UK, US, and France.
The settlement comes after an almost four-year long investigation into alleged corruption and bribery. Exact details have yet to be revealed, but it’s reported that Airbus will likely face over 3 billion Euros in fines. The French company has come under fire over the alleged use of middlemen in plane sales. Now, it is clear that the investigation is over and a settlement has been reached. “Airbus confirms that it has reached agreement in principle with the French Parquet National Financier, the UK Serious Fraud Office and the US authorities,” an Airbus statement reads.
British authorities at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) opened an investigation into Airbus in 2016. Their French counterparts joined them shortly thereafter. Airbus employs over 130,000 worldwide, with about 10,000 of their employees working in the UK. When the SFO opened its investigation, it did so under charges of “fraud, bribery and corruption.”
The settlement is likely to become very expensive for Airbus. It still likely comes as a sign of respite in executive boardrooms. The company coming to a settlement allows them to avoid a messy prosecution scandal over the use of middlemen labeled “third-party consultants” to secure plane sales. The company also avoided potential breaches of US arms sales regulations. Ever since the SFO investigations began four years ago, the company has quietly changed its sales structure and broken off relations with many of its former third-party consultants.