By John-Paul Ford Rojas, business reporter
Airbus has agreed to settle bribery and corruption allegations by UK, US and French authorities in a deal that will cost it €3.6bn (£3bn).
The European aeroplane maker, based in Toulouse, disclosed the scale of the financial hit hours after confirming that it had reached an “agreement in principle” with authorities in each country.
Court hearings will take place in each of the three jurisdictions on Friday to give final approval to the deal.
Airbus said it would book a €3.6bn provision for the penalties in its annual accounts for 2019.
It did not give a breakdown in its statement of how much would go to each country or what part of the total was accounted for by other costs.
Still, the scale of the provision makes it likely that the settlement surpasses the £671m penalties handed to Rolls-Royce for similar allegations two years ago.
Airbus said its case related to “allegations of bribery and corruption and to inaccuracies in filings made with the US authorities pursuant to the US international traffic in arms regulations”.
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In Britain, the Serious Fraud Office confirmed in a separate statement that it had reached a deferred prosecution agreement in principle with the company, subject to court approval.
It said no further information could be provided until after the hearing.
The SFO and the French financial prosecutor’s office had begun investigating Airbus in 2016 with the US Department of Justice joining in 2018.
The allegations related to irregularities concerning third party consultants.
Airbus employs more than 130,000 people worldwide including 13,500 in the UK at sites in Bristol, north Wales, Newport, Portsmouth and Stevenage.
Source : Sky News