VIENNA --- A parliamentary inquiry into Austria’s $2 billion Eurofighter deal found no indications of bribery or that Airbus and its partners illegally influenced Austrian politicians, according to the final report on the matter.
Lawmakers launched their inquiry in March to check whether politicians might have accepted bribes from the makers of Eurofighter to approve the deal.
Vienna prosecutors are pursuing a separate investigation into allegations of fraud against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium, based on earlier complaints from the defense ministry, which is seeking up to 1.1 billion euros in compensation.
Airbus and the consortium, which includes Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo, rejected the accusations as politically motivated and, on Monday, threatened Austria’s defense minister with legal action.
Allegations that decision-makers pocketed money for their approval of the Eurofighter deal surfaced almost immediately after the original purchase was agreed in 2003.
Legislators investigated a settlement Austria reached with Eurofighter in 2007 to reduce the order to 15 jets from 18 as well as the volume of so-called offset deals meant to provide business for the local economy to 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion) from 4 billion. MPs said they did not have enough time to clarify the circumstances of the initial order. (end of excerpt)
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