Airbus says U.K. Fraud office has started a criminal probe

Airbus Group SE said the U.K. Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption relating to some of its third-party consultants.

The French plane maker said in a statement on Sunday that it’s cooperating with the investigators probing its civil aviation business. 

Airbus had flagged to U.K. regulators and the European Export Credir Agencies earlier this year “misstatements and omissions” involving the outside contractors in some export financing applications, found through an internal probe. 

The credit agencies, including U.K. Export Finance, have suspended some of the backstop financing that Airbus uses to help sell commercial aircraft since the first revelations made four months ago. Airbus said in a July 27 statement that a process for re-establishing export credit “has been agreed and is ongoing.”

Until the financing is restored, Airbus and rival Boeing Co. face the challenge of navigating an uncertain market with limited government assistance. 

The Chicago-based manufacturer has been unable to tap trade financing because of a congressional impasse that has left the U.S. Export-Import bank with too few directors to approve deals. 

Airbus’ shares fell to their lowest since July 11 and traded down 1.2 percent to 50.39 euros at 9:51am in Paris. 


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