Airbus agree to pay €16m fine to settle French corruption investigation

Plane-maker accused of past bribery in Libya involving sale of fighter planes to Gaddafi in 2007

Airbus and the French financial prosecution office have agreed to settle an investigation related to past Airbus dealings including bribery in Libya and Kazakhstan, with the plane maker paying a fine of about €16 million, the two parties said at a court hearing on Wednesday.

The settlement still needs to be approved by the court.

The prosecutor said that Airbus had already paid more than $3 billion (€2.9 billion) for the corruption scheme three years ago, and that the company had co-operated with authorities.

“The record fine at the time fully covered the public interest... since then, there has been a profound internal transformation at Airbus,” it said.


The new bribery settlement comes as an extension to a deal struck with prosecutors in 2020, which included record fines against the plane-maker.

Prosecutors said Airbus’s unlawful dealings in Libya and Kazakhstan had still been under investigation and thus were not included in the 2020 settlement.

People familiar with the new case have said it involves the sale of jets to Libya under Muammar Gaddafi in 2007 and helicopters, satellites and a satellite control centre to Kazakhstan in 2009.

The bribery scheme in Libya was discovered as part of a wider investigation by France’s financial prosecutors into businesspeople and politicians linked to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy on suspicion of illegal political campaign financing with Libyan funds, which Sarkozy has constantly denied.

– Reuters