AMSTERDAM --- The investigation of Airbus Defence and Space GmbH by the Munich Public Prosecutor (Staatsanwaltschaft München I) related to the sale of Eurofighter aircraft to the Republic of Austria in 2003 has been terminated.
The result of the investigation by the Munich Public Prosecutor, which had been ongoing since 2012, did not confirm the allegations of bribery.
In order to conclude the investigation, the Munich Public Prosecutor has issued an administrative penalty notice against Airbus Defence and Space GmbH under the German Act on Administrative Misdemeanours ("Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz") amounting to € 81.25 million. The total amount comprises an administrative fine of € 250,000 and a disgorgement of € 81 million. Airbus Defence and Space GmbH has accepted this notice.
The notice is based on the allegation of a negligent breach of supervisory duties of non-identified members of Airbus Defence and Space GmbH's former management. The notice alleges that certain former management negligently failed to ensure proper internal controls that would have prevented employees from making payments to business partners without proven documented services in exchange.
On the other hand, the notice explicitly recognizes the major efforts undertaken by Airbus and its management since 2012, which have resulted in a new Compliance culture and a serious Compliance programme.
Since the beginning of the investigation, Airbus has fully cooperated with the Munich Public Prosecutor. This included the provision of an independent fact-finding report of the law firm Clifford Chance, which Airbus shared with the Munich Public Prosecutor in 2014.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016 it generated revenues of €67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats and business aviation products. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world's leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cambridge English dictionary defines “disgorgement” as “a situation in which a person or organization is forced to pay back money that they have made in an illegal way.”)