Airbus has agreed to pay an 81 million-euro fine to end a five-year bribery investigation by German prosecutors.
The investigation into the 2003 sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria found that Airbus executives were guilty of a "negligent breach of supervisory duties" by failing to implement internal controls.
But the investigation failed to find any evidence of bribes. In a statement, the prosecutors noted “the major efforts undertaken by Airbus and its management since 2012, which have resulted in a new compliance culture and a serious compliance programme."
The investigation found that former management figures “negligently failed to ensure proper internal controls that would have prevented employees from making payments to business partners without proven documented services in exchange."
Airbus is still the subject of bribery and fraud investigations in the UK, France, the US and Austria.
Airbus’ new emphasis on compliance has helped it avoid prosecution in Germany. But it must surely realise that it would be facing far fewer problems now if it had had such a dedication to compliance in previous years.
Companies with an international presence must be aware of the bribery risks wherever they trade.
Read our article: AIRBUS AND THE RISKS OF BRIBERY ACROSS BORDERS