Airbus faces years of investigation

Airbus faces years of investigation by French and UK authorities into allegations of corruption over jet sales.

There had been reports that British and French prosecutors met last month to discuss the terms of a settlement deal known as a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) following a probe into the use of middlemen to sell jetliners. 

That could result in a fine of over £1bn (€1.13bn), it was reported, but experts said it was premature to talk about a settlement in an inquiry widely expected to drag on for years.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office head David Green had hoped to agree a DPA with Airbus before leaving in April next year.

The investigations began after Airbus drew the attention of regulators to inaccurate declarations it had made to Britain’s export credit finance agency over payments to sales agents. 

The fraud office launched its investigation in August 2016, followed seven months later by the Parquet National Financier, which legal experts say makes it a relatively young investigation for such a complex case. 

Airbus has said the process may be a long one. 

Some analysts say the company could nonetheless face a record fine once the proceedings have played out.

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