Airbus Settles Kazakhstan, Libya Bribery Probes with €16M Fine

Published: 06 December 2022

Airbus Flying

Investigations into the European planemaker Airbus began in 2016, involving hundreds of millions of euros in alleged secret commissions during sales to multiple countries. (Photo: Romain COUPY, Wikimedia, License)

By Inci Sayki

Airbus and French financial prosecutors  last week settled a bribery case in Libya and Kazakhstan, with the aerospace corporation agreeing to pay a fine of €15.9 million ($16.5 million).

The settlement comes as an extension to a record €3.6 billion bribery settlement in 2020 by the planemaker to France, the United States and Britain, €2.1 billion of which was paid to France, prosecutors said in a statement.

The settlement is expected to conclude investigations dating back to 2016 into bribery in the sale of planes and satellites to Libya and Kazakhstan between 2006 and 2011, the prosecutors said.

According to the scheme, Airbus used a network of intermediaries to bribe officials upon entering new markets, such as in Kazakhstan.

The Libyan case involved the sale of jets via middlemen with ties to Moammar Al Qaddafi. This probe resulted in former French President Nicolas Sarkozy being accused of illegally financing his political campaign in 2007 with Libyan funds, which he has repeatedly denied.

Airbus said in a statement that the new settlement covers “past matters relating to the use of intermediaries in sales campaigns prior to 2012.”

The company said it has taken “significant steps since 2016 to reform itself by implementing a benchmark compliance system underpinned by an unwavering commitment to integrity and continuous improvement.”