Airbus has agreed to pay €3.6 billion ($3.95 billion) in penalties to settle bribery and corruption investigations being conducted by the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ). According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the settlement also addresses charges that Airbus violated the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by “failing to provide … accurate information related to commissions paid by Airbus to third-party brokers who were hired to solicit, promote or otherwise secure the sale of defense articles and defense services to foreign armed forces.” The investigations were opened in 2016 following a self-report from Airbus.
“Airbus engaged in a multi-year and massive scheme to corruptly enhance its business interests by paying bribes in China and other countries and concealing those bribes,” said U.S. Justice Department Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. “This coordinated resolution was possible thanks to the dedicated efforts of our foreign partners at the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom and the PNF in France.”
Agreements with the PNF, SFO and DoJ suspend prosecution of Airbus for three years, after which the cases will be discontinued if Airbus has complied with the terms of the agreements. As per a Consent Agreement with the U.S. Department of State (DoS), Airbus will settle all civil violations of the ITAR outlined in its voluntary disclosures and retain an independent export control compliance officer to monitor ITAR compliance and the effectiveness of the company’s export control systems. Of the settlement money, the PNF will receive €2.08 billion ($2.3 billion), SFO €984 million ($1.08 billion), DoJ €526 million ($577 million) and DoS €9 million ($9.88 million).
“The settlements we have reached … turn the page on unacceptable business practices from the past,” said Airbus board of directors chairman Denis Ranque. “The strengthening of our compliance programmes at Airbus is designed to ensure that such misconduct cannot happen again. The agreements also reflect that the decision to voluntarily report and cooperate with the authorities was the right one.”