Airbus resolves global bribery scandal for record USD 4 Billion

On 31 January 2020, multinational European aerospace corporation Airbus SE (Airbus) reached a global settlement with France’s Parquet National Financier (PNF), the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of State to resolve charges of transnational bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as well as violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) as implemented by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The bribery charges arose from Airbus’s use of intermediaries to bribe government officials and airline executives in China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Ghana, and multiple other countries between 2003 and 2015. Airbus executives had concealed the payments through loan schemes, bank accounts controlled by agents indirectly affiliated with the company, and mischaracterization of the payments in the company’s books and records. The AECA/ITAR violations arose from Airbus knowingly providing inaccurate information regarding political contributions, commissions, and fees it paid, offered, or agreed to pay to secure sales of defense articles and services.

A global resolution, reached in principle and announced by Airbus on 28 January 2020, was reviewed and approved last Friday by courts in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Under the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, the company will pay a total of approximately EUR 3.59 billion, including an amount close to EUR 2 billion to the PNF, almost  EUR 1 billion to the SFO, and EUR 525,655,000 (approximately  USD 582 million) to U.S. authorities. The U.S. payment comprises a USD 294.3 million fine for the FCPA violations, a USD 232.7 million fine for the ITAR violations and USD 55 million in civil forfeiture. The total is the world’s largest global resolution for bribery.

More information:

The DPA concluded with the UK’s SFO can be downloaded here:

A compendium summary of the allegations can be downloaded here:

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