Daily Management Review

Investigations Over Suspected Fraud To Be Conducted Against Airbus CEO By Austrian Prosecutors: Reuters


In connection with a $2 billion Eurofighter jet order by Austria that was given about more than a decade ago, the Airbus Chief Executive Thomas Enders is being investigated for suspected fraud by Vienna prosecutors, reported international news agency Reuters citing sources in the prosecutors' office.
While a spokeswoman for the Vienna prosecutors' office said that information was correct, correspondence reviewed by Reuters listed Enders as one of those accused in the investigation.
"I can confirm that," the spokeswoman, Nina Bussek, said on Wednesday when asked whether Enders was being investigated.
There were no comments available, according to Reuters, from Airbus spokesman Martin Aguera. Enders could not be reached for comment either by Reuters or other media outlets.
The country’s defense ministry said it believed Airbus and Eurofighter misled decision-makers about the purchase price, deliverability and equipment of the 2003 warplane order, and it was after this declaration in February that the Vienna prosecutors opened a criminal investigation against Enders.
Enders had not so far been considered a witness in the investigation and had not been notified of any proceedings against him, reported Reuters quoting a person close to Airbus who asked not to be named.
Allegations of any wrongdoing have been denied by Airbus, which was called European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company (EADS) at the time the fighter jet order was agreed, and by Enders as well.
When the contract was signed, Enders was head of EADS's defense division. A few months later, he took responsibility for combat aircraft.
Denial of any wrongdoing has also come from the Eurofighter consortium, which comprises BAE Systems, Italy's Leonardo and Airbus.
Airbus shares fell as much as 1.1 percent as they shed gains after Reuters reported that Enders was being investigated. They were up 0.3 percent at 74.32 euros at 1440 GMT.
Investigations about whether officials received bribes aimed at ensuring they chose Eurofighter jets over rival offers from Saab and Lockheed Martin are being carried on now for years by Austrian and German prosecutors separately.
Allegations that via brokers for so-called offset deals accompanying the transaction, money was pocketed by politicians, civil servants and others. Such allegations had surfaced almost immediately after the purchase was agreed to.
Designed to provide work for local businesses in countries placing orders are these deals which are common in large arms purchases.
Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium illegally charged nearly 10 percent of the purchase price of 1.96 billion euros for these side deals, Austria's defense ministry has alleged.

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