London’s Royal Courts of Justice has released documents revealing how top representatives from governments in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana took bribes from the world’s largest airliner manufacturer, Airbus between 2009 and 2015.
The disclosures on Airbus’ corruption network was made public after a nearly four-year probe into sales to over a dozen overseas markets. The multinational paid large-scale bribes to score high-value contracts according to the report.
Airbus, Europe’s biggest aerospace multinational, bribed public officials to land contracts in at least 20 countries, prosecutors from a British court said Friday.
The plane-maker, also a major defense and space supplier, agreed to pay a record $4 billion (€3.6 billion) after reaching settlements with investigators in Britain, France and the United States to end a probe that began four years ago.
Settlement means Airbus avoids corporate criminal charges that risked barring firm from public contracts in US and European Union.
US authorities has probed the plane-maker over suspected violations of US export controls while British and French authorities have been investigating Airbus for alleged corruption over jet sales for more than a decade.
London’s High Court approved the settlement struck with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.
The US Department of Justice said the deal was the largest-ever foreign bribery settlement. However, prosecutors added that individuals could still face criminal charges.
Code name ‘Van Gogh’
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”.
The SFO said Airbus sponsored a sports team owned by AirAsia executives while negotiating aeroplane orders.
On Military defence deals, 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 military transport planes, the SFO said. Ghana’s government could not immediately be reached.
The SFO said Airbus also sponsored a sports team owned by AirAsia executives while negotiating aeroplane orders.
AirAsia officials have strongly denied any wrongdoing in connection with the 2012 sponsorship agreement between the Caterham Formula 1 racing team and Airbus’s then-parent EADS. VIEW AIRBUS BRIBERY REPORT HERE