Airbus allegedly falsely inflated prices during the transactions for a 2003 deal between Austrian Defence Ministry and Airbus under which the company sold 15 fighter jets worth €2bn to the government. Furthermore, through use of advisory firms, Airbus allegedly paid millions of euros in kickbacks to Australian public officials, including politicians, to secure the deal.
Airbus allegedly paid bribes to Canadian politicians during Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's term in the 1980s to induce Air Canada to purchase a large number of Airbus jets rather than Boeing jets.
Airbus Helicopters, Airbus' Eurocopter helicopter unit, allegedly paid 41 million euros (approximately USD 45 million) in bribes to Greek officials to secure the purchase of the 20 NH-90 helicopters.
German authorities suspect that bribes were paid to enable the company to obtain contracts worth 3 billion euros (2.3 billion pounds) in Saudi Arabia and Romania.
A former employee of Britain-based GPT alleged that Airbus gave Saudi Arabian officials cars, jewelry, and cash to win a £2 billion communications contract. GPT's £2 billion (USD 3.4 billion) contract was for an upgrade to the satellite and intranet systems of the Saudi National Guard. According to Lieutenant Colonel Ian Foxley, a former employee of GPT, the Saudi officials were given the gifts by middlemen.
In April 2016, Airbus voluntarily disclosed to U.K. regulators and European export credit authorities of “misstatements and omissions” involving outside contractors in some export financing applications with discrepancies over the amount of agents' fees disclosed.
On 16 February 2017, Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil disclosed that the ministry is pursuing a criminal complaint against Airbus. The Minister alleged that an investigation of a 2003 deal under which Airbus sold 15 twin-engine Eurofighter combat planes worth €2bn to the Austrian government showed "fraudulent and deceitful actions" taken by Airbus. The minister signaled the ministry could seek more than USD 1 billion in restitution. The Austrian Press Agency reported that the probe by the Ministry found that Airbus had falsely inflated prices during the transaction. Furthermore, Prosecutors in Vienna and Munich has also been investigating whether officials were paid millions of euros through advisory firms to secure the contract. The probe was originally set up in 2007 to look into possible bribes but reportedly closed without concrete conclusions. Five years later, Austrian authorities launched a fresh inquiry.
On the same day, 16 February 2017, Airbus announced that it has not been notified the ministry of the allegations and denied it.
Eurocopter and two German executives were charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police following a nine-year investigation into the matter. In 2005, a Canadian court dismissed the charges.
On 12 October 2016, David Green, head of the SFO, confirmed that the SFO is working with French authorities in its investigation.
In March 2017, Airbus confirmed that the probe by the Parquet National Financier is looking into possible bribery and corruption in Airbus' civil aviation business related to third-party consultants. French and the UK authorities will coordinate with each other.
ROMANIA & SAUDI ARABIA allegations
On 3 December 2014, the Munich prosecutor's office confirmed that Airbus's defense unit was under investigation for suspicion of paying bribes to foreign officials and tax evasion in connection with contracts with Romania and Saudi Arabia. Prosecutors said a small number of people were targets of the investigation and they raided homes of the suspects as well at company premises, including offices in Ottobrunn, Unterschleissheim, Manching, Ulm and Friedrichshafen, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported in October 2014. Confiscated materials are being evaluated.
In February 2017, it was reported that the Munich prosecutors are set to finish their preliminary proceedings into Airbus in 2017.
In February 2015, Greek Alternate Defense Minister announce that Greece plans to exclude Airbus Helicopter from public procurement and the Defense Ministry is investigating the purchase of 20 NH-90 military helicopters.
SAUDI ARABIA allegations
In May 2011, media reported that the SFO confirmed a preliminary investigation is under way and Foxley has been interviewed by the investigators.
On 7 August 2012, the SFO announced that it decided to open a criminal investigation into allegations concerning GPT and aspects of the conduct of their business in Saudi Arabia.
On 9 July 2014, the SFO questioned and arrested six people at GPT in connection with a long-running investigation into the alleged corrupt business practices in Saudi Arabia. The individuals include two current GPT employees, two former GPT employees and two U.K. Ministry of Defence ("MoD") officials.
The SFO reportedly informed GPT Special Project Management’s former commercial director Richard Moody and Chief Financial Officer Laurence Bryant that the agency is not pursuing charges against them. Both Moody and Bryant were part of the individuals arrested and questioned by the SFO in 2014. Another individual and former employee, Malcolm Peto was told by the SFO that they weren't in a position to make a decision on Peto's case yet.
On 8 August 2016, the SFO announced that it opened a criminal investigation against Airbus Group in July 2016. The investigation relates to allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in its civil aviation business relating to irregularities concerning third party consultants. On 12 October 2016, David Green, head of the SFO, confirmed that the SFO is working with French authorities in its investigation.
Airbus has stated that it is cooperating with the investigation.
David Green has stated that he would like to resolve the Airbus investigation by the time he leaves the SFO in April 2018.
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Foxley made a report to the UK SFO after he was allegedly fired after raising concerns within the company about the possibility of bribes.