Corruption in Libya and Kazakhstan: Airbus pays 15.9 million euros to avoid prosecution

French justice on Wednesday validated an agreement between Airbus and the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) to avoid possible criminal prosecution for the European aircraft manufacturer for suspicion of corruption in Libya and Kazakhstan, in return for a fine of 15, 9 million euros.

Justice validated, Wednesday, November 30 in Paris, an agreement allowing the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to avoid criminal prosecution in corruption investigations – mainly during the sale of devices in Libya and Kazakhstan between 2006 and 2011 – against a fine of 15.9 million euros.

During a public hearing, the president of the Paris court, Stéphane Noël, approved a legal agreement in the public interest (CJIP) concluded between Airbus and the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) on November 18.

For the PNF magistrates, who noted, on the one hand, the “repeated character of the corrupt acts” of the company, and on the other, the “old” time of the alleged acts and the “cooperation” of the group during the investigation, it is a “fair, just, appropriate” fine.

The penalty is not worth recognition of guilt and the European giant can therefore always access public markets. The amount of the fine corresponds to the total commissions paid to the intermediaries when the devices are sold.

A “complementary” judicial agreement to that of 2020

On January 31, 2020, Airbus had already agreed to pay a fine of 3.6 billion euros, including 2.1 billion euros to France, to avoid prosecution before the French, British and American courts, in an investigation. on “irregularities” relating in particular to commercial agents involved in contracts for the sale of aircraft or military equipment.

Wednesday’s CJIP is “complementary” to the first, and concerns the same “fraudulent scheme” from a “bygone era” for facts that could not be introduced in 2020 for “procedural reasons”, underlined the national financial prosecutor, Jean-François Bohnert.

The judicial investigation into suspicions of Libyan financing of the 2007 presidential campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy, opened in 2013, focused on the sale, at the end of 2006, of twelve Airbus planes to the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Three weeks after the conclusion of this contract, 2 million euros were transferred, at the request of a former Airbus executive indicted in mid-March, to an account of the intermediary Alexandre Djouhrialso indicted in this case.

The so-called “Kazakhgate” investigation, opened in March 2013, is looking into suspicions of corruption and illegal commissions paid to intermediaries on the sidelines of contracts concluded between France and Kazakhstan between 2009 and 2010, under the presidency of Nicholas Sarkozy.

With AFP