Airbus hired the wife of a Sri Lankan Airlines executive as an agent, although she had had no previous experience in the industry and paid her USD 2 million, the aircraft manufacturer has admitted to the UK authorities.
She was used to influence the purchase of 10 aircraft, Airbus has admitted in a settlement arrived at with the UK, France and the United States over the uncovering of the aircraft manufacturer’s corrupt operations in half a dozen countries between 2011 and 2015.
Reports in the UK Financial Times said to disguise the Sri Lankan woman’s identity Airbus employees misled the UK export credit agency about her name and gender.
She had been paid by a shell company based in Brunei these reports said.
Airbus will pay fines totalling nearly USD 3.9bn to France, the UK and the US after judges in the three countries agreed to a corporate plea bargain struck by Airbus.
Investigators uncovered wrongdoing in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan and Ghana during the four-year period. There were also allegations that bribes were paid in Indonesia and Nepal.
The UK Serious Frauds Office (SFO) investigated Airbus for four years, these reports said.
The director of the SFO Lisa Osofsky was quoted as saying “Airbus paid bribes through agents around the world to stack the decks in its favour and win contracts around the globe.”