11th June 2018, London – Today, NGOs in France, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, the UK and the US are calling upon the agencies investigating Airbus to ensure that the company and its senior executives are properly held to account.
Airbus is under investigation in several jurisdictions for allegedly paying bribes in order to win billions of dollars of contracts. The allegations are egregious and widespread, covering multiple countries and involving several divisions within Airbus including commercial aircraft, helicopters and aerospace and defence.
In February 2018, Airbus reached a €81.25million settlement in Germany to end a corruption investigation into the 2003 Eurofighter deal with Austria. Over the coming months, prosecutors will be weighing up their options, with more settlements as one possible outcome, allowing the company to continue winning government contracts without prosecution.
Today the NGOs in a letter to the heads of the Serious Fraud Office, Parque National Financier and Department of Justice urged the authorities to ensure that:
- National economic interest, relations with foreign states or the importance of Airbus as a national industry must not affect the investigation or prosecution of alleged bribery by the company;
- Individuals responsible for the wrongdoing must face prosecution including those at senior levels;
- No immunity deals should be included in any action taken against Airbus;
- A settlement should only be given if prosecutors have high confidence that Airbus has fully cooperated and revealed the full extent of wrongdoing, and if it has fully signed up to genuine corporate change including through disciplining of employees responsible for wrongdoing;
- Countries where it is proven that Airbus has paid bribes must be fully compensated for harm caused; and
- Any enforcement action must be fully transparent with details of the wrongdoing made publicly available.
Susan Hawley, Director of Policy at Corruption Watch, said:
“The Airbus case is a test of the resolve and independence of the prosecuting bodies and their ability to bring widespread and egregious wrongdoing to justice. Airbus and individuals implicated must not be let off lightly if these global allegations are confirmed by law enforcement investigations.”
Andrew Watson, Head of Industry Integrity at Transparency International Defence and Security said:
“If proven, these extensive cases of corruption will have had a significant impact on the public, state institutions and the industry. With such wide-ranging and complex allegations, it will be will be vital for prosecutors to co-ordinate closely if they are to account for the full scale of alleged offending; because individual cases, serious as they may be, won’t tell the whole story.”
“For the punishment to be proportionate to the crime, prosecutors should consider the full range of offending across all jurisdictions when reaching their decisions.”
The full letter can be found here, signed by:
- Katherine Dixon – Director, Transparency International – Defence and Security
- Kathryn Higgs – Director, Business Integrity Programme, Transparency International UK
- Andrew Feinstein – Executive Director, Corruption Watch (UK)
- Shruti Shah – Acting President and CEO, Coalition for Integrity (USA)
- Franceline Lepany – President, Sherpa
- Achraf Aouadi – Director, Iwatch (Tunisia)
- Asoka Obeyesekere – Director, Transparency International Sri Lanka
- Adnan Topan Husado – Coordinator, Indonesia Corruption Watch
+44 20 3096 7695
+44 79 6456 0340