A corruption investigation into aircraft manufacturer Airbus over the sale of fighter jets to Austria will "soon be over," according to German prosecutors.
Prosecutors have been looking into the firm’s affairs for five years, with some German media reports alleging around 100 corrupt payments; involving millions of euros.
Investigators are looking at allegations that an Airbus business unit in Paris created a network of shell companies so it could make payments to Austrian decision makers over that country’s purchase of Eurofighter military jets. Austria agreed a 15-aircraft deal with Airbus, worth around 1.7 billion euros.
French and UK authorities are also examining possible corruption at Airbus' UK-based civil aviation arm.
Aziz Rahman, founder of Rahman Ravelli, said the outcome may depend on how Airbus has responded to the allegations.
He added: “We have seen with the Rolls-Royce bribery case how cooperation with the authorities can lead to a more lenient penalty. In Rolls-Royce’s case, it obtained a deferred prosecution agreement and avoided a criminal prosecution.
“We are yet to know the outcome of the Airbus investigations or whether a DPA is a realistic option. But if Airbus accepts wrongdoing has been done, it should be looking to put right the wrongs and be devising a strategy to cooperate and negotiate with the authorities to obtain the best possible outcome.
“If it believes it has done nothing wrong, it needs to be taking advice about how to mount the strongest possible defence using available evidence.’’
Read our article: THE SFO, THE FUTURE AND SECURING A DPA