PARIS --- Fallout from the Airbus bribery scandal reverberated around the world on Monday as the head of one of its top buyers temporarily stood down and investigations were launched in countries aggrieved at being dragged into the increasingly political row.
Airbus agreed on Friday to pay a record $4 billion in fines after reaching a plea bargain with prosecutors in Britain, France and United States over alleged bribery and corruption stretching back at least 15 years.
Now, it is bracing for a rocky period with airlines and foreign governments, some of which have complained they were not forewarned about the charges and claimed little knowledge of the sums of money swirling around their fleet purchases.
“Friday was the end of Act I, now we are seeing the beginning of Act II with possible repercussions on airline relationships,” said a person close to the company.
Airbus declined to comment further after welcoming the agreement on Friday as an opportunity to “turn the page.”
Prosecution documents agreed by Airbus detailed a global network of agents or middlemen in transactions across the group’s business and run from a cell in Paris where the group had part of its headquarters, split between France and Germany. (end of excerpt)
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