Toulouse, France - After three-years of a probe by the US and European authorities for bribery and corruption over aircraft sales, Airbus faces a record $4 billion fine.
The European planemaker agreed with the French, British and U.S. authorities on a preliminary deal. The deal, believed by anti-corruption experts to be the largest ever in a bribery case, ends an almost four-year crisis that led to a sweeping management overhaul and delayed plans to redeploy the plane giant’s cash surplus.
If approved by the courts, the deal is expected to allow Airbus to avoid criminal charges that risked banning the company from public contracts in the United States and European Union - a massive setback for one of Europe’s top defense and space firms.
The European planemaker has been investigated by French and British authorities for suspected corruption over jet sales dating back over a decade. It has also faced U.S. investigations over suspected violations of export controls.
Announcing the tentative agreement, Airbus - which dominates the commercial jet market alongside U.S. rival Boeing - said it would take a provision of 3.6 billion euros ($3.96 billion) in its 2019 earnings if the deal won approval in court hearings in the United States, Britain, and France on Jan 31.