Airbus SE agreed to pay an 81 million-euro (US$99 million) fine to end a five-year bribery investigation by German prosecutors in connection with Eurofighter jets the defense company sold to Austria in 2003.
The Munich Public Prosecutor found former Airbus space and defense executives were guilty of a "negligent breach of supervisory duties" by failing to implement internal controls, the company said on February 9. The probe failed to find any evidence of bribes, the prosecutors said.
"The notice alleges that certain former management negligently failed to ensure proper internal controls that would have prevented employees from making payments to business partners without proven documented services in exchange," Airbus said. "On the other hand, the notice explicitly recognizes the major efforts undertaken by Airbus and its management since 2012, which have resulted in a new compliance culture and a serious compliance program."
Airbus is the subject of bribery and fraud investigations by prosecutors in the U.K., France and Austria, among other countries.
CEO Tom Enders has said he has tried to remodel the aircraft maker to rid it of the external agents who have often been used to pay bribes to government and airline officials.
Austrian allegations against Airbus claim that the company knew Eurofighters wouldn’t be available on time and in the right configuration and that the country was overcharged for expenses that included lobbying and kickbacks. Airbus was the partner in the fighter program that negotiated the sale.
B Franz Wild