In July 2016, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in the civil aviation business of Airbus Group. These allegations related to irregularities concerning third party consultants.
On 31 January 2020, the Serious Fraud Office entered into a record-breaking Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the global aerospace company Airbus SE following its approval by Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division. The indictment, which has been suspended for the term of the DPA, covers five counts of failure to prevent bribery and involved Airbus’ Commercial and Defence & Space divisions. The conduct covered by the UK DPA took place across five jurisdictions: Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana between 2011 and 2015.
Under the terms of the DPA, Airbus SE agreed to pay a fine, disgorgement of profits and costs amounting to €991m here in the UK, and in total, €3.6bn as part the world’s largest global resolution for bribery, involving authorities in France and the United States. On the same day as entering into a DPA with the SFO, Airbus SE also reached a Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public with the Parquet National Financier (PNF) and a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the US Department of Justice and US Department of State. In total, these agreements together with the SFO DPA required Airbus SE to pay approximately €3.6 billion (including €2,083,137,455 to the PNF and €525,655,000 to the US authorities) at the exchange rate at time of payment. Please see the full press release here. The DPA, Statement of Facts and Judgment of Dame Victoria Sharp can be found here.
In February 2020, Airbus SE paid its financial penalty, disgorgement and costs to the SFO. In GBP, this figure was £830m in total, comprising of disgorgement of profits of £491m, financial penalty of £333m, and the SFO’s reasonable costs of £6m. This has been transferred to the Treasury for onward transmission.
The case remains open until the end of the DPA period.
Page published on 7 Sep 2016 | Page modified on 17 May 2021