UK prosecutors in the Airbus bribery settlement said that Airbus employees promised success-based commission payments of approximately €5 million euros to bribe Ghana government officials to acquire a proposed sale of military aircraft to Ghana.
Airbus hired and disguised payments to a close relative of a government official in Ghana with no aerospace experience in connection with a sale of three military transport planes, the SFO said. Ghana’s government could not immediately be reached.
“False documentation was created by or with the agreement of Airbus employees in order to support and disguise these payments,” the court’s documents further revealed.
In a packed hearing at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, an Airbus lawyer said the settlements “draw a clear line under the investigation and under the grave historic practices”.
Prosecutors also added that the company during investigations failed to prevent individuals associated with the company from bribery involving other airlines.
“Between 1 July 2011 and 1 June 2015 Airbus SE failed to prevent persons associated with Airbus SE from bribing others concerned with the purchase of military transport aircraft by the Government of Ghana, where the said bribery was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus SE,” the court’s statement indicated.
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said Airbus had also hired the wife of a Sri Lankan Airlines executive as its intermediary and misled Britain’s UK Export Finance export credit agency over her name and gender, while paying $2m to her company. The airline could not be reached for comment.
Court filings in the UK and the US outlined efforts to keep relationships and payments secret, including the use of code names such as “Van Gogh” and payments described as “medications and dosages prescribed by Dr Brown”.
These bribery deals in Ghana were under the late John Atta Mills – John Dramani Mahama administration.