France Joins U.K. Probe into Airbus International Contracts

French authorities have joined the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into possible corruption involving Airbus external consultants who helped the company win international contracts.

Airbus A380 blue skyAirbus A380 (Photo: Axwel CC BY 2.0)Airbus announced Thursday that the Parquet National Financier would be joining the SFO’s probe into how Airbus sold some of its planes and how it arranged aircraft financing.

The SFO began investigating Airbus in August after the company disclosed to financial authorities the findings of its own internal investigation that revealed "misstatements and omissions."

The British regulator UK Export Finance suspended the financing of Airbus deals from export credit agencies in the UK, France and Germany.

The aircraft manufacturer stopped using middlemen and expected the government funding to resume by the end of 2016, however the financing has not been renewed.

The use of intermediaries isn’t illegal, in fact companies often use them to establish local connections in emerging markets. However, the practice can make oversight complicated.

Airbus is also facing a French graft probe for a helicopter deal with Kazakhstan and a longstanding UK probe concerning bribery allegations in a communications deal between its GPT unit and Saudi Arabia.