Airbus reaches deal to settle corruption probe – Opinion

Airbus says it has agreed a settlement with French, British and US authorities following lengthy investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption. In a statement, the European planemaker said the deal was subject to approval by courts in the three countries.

Rahman Ravelli’s Senior Partner Aziz Rahman commented: “Airbus is obviously paying a price for its wrongdoing but crucially it is avoiding a prosecution. This is yet another instance of a large company being able to escape the shackles of its past and keep competing in the marketplace.

“Whether this case is yet another one where the SFO is unable to successfully prosecute individuals alleged to have been behind the wrongdoing remains to be seen; with the Airbus subsidiary GPT having been under investigation for eight years. But cynics may say that today’s agreement will be viewed by Airbus as little more than the cost of doing business.

“This has been a major investigation into the workings of a huge organisation. But it is hard to ignore the possibility that this deal – and the timing of it – is political.

“Airbus is a European aerospace giant and anything that happens to it has an effect on both the European economy and on defence. The length of time that it has taken to conclude these investigations while the prospect of Brexit has loomed large may indicate there has been political pressure for a particular outcome to be carefully timed.’’