Airbus agrees to settle corruption probes with U.S., France, UK

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A350 takes off at the aircraft builder's headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Airbus has agreed in principle to a settlement with French, British and U.S. authorities regarding a probe into allegations of bribery and corruption, it said on Tuesday.

The European planemaker has been investigated by French and British authorities over suspected corruption dating back over a decade. It has also faced U.S. investigations over suspected violations of export controls.

“Airbus confirms that it has reached agreement in principle with the French Parquet National Financier, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office and the U.S. authorities,” the French company said in a statement.

“These agreements are made in the context of investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption as well as compliance with the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). They remain subject to approval by French and UK courts and the U.S. court and regulator,” it said.

Airbus, which competes with U.S. rival Boeing in the commercial airliner market, said it could not comment on precise details regarding its talks with authorities, including how much it expected to pay out in the settlements.

“We welcome settlement of the investigations by the PNF and SFO, even if it comes at some cost. Press reports cite an amount of 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion), toward the upper end of what we thought probable,” analysts at brokerage Jefferies wrote.

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