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Airbus sued over aircraft sales practices

Airbus is being sued by some former consultants after the earlier discovery of questionable practices related to aircraft sales led the European plane maker to overhaul its business-partner relationships.

The review and related legal matters may have a material impact on future financial statements, Airbus said in its annual report. It is "too early to determine the likelihood or extent of any liability", the France-based company said.


The plane maker previously disclosed that it discovered "misstatements and omissions" in some applications for export credit financing related to the use of third-party consultants. The United Kingdom’s serious fraud office and France’s parquet national financier subsequently launched investigations into the manufacturer over allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in its civil aviation business. 

Credit agencies, including UK Export Finance and state institutions in France, Germany and Spain, suspended some of the backstop financing that Airbus uses to help sell commercial aircraft. Airbus is working with relevant agencies to re-establish financing, the company said.

The company previously said it dropped the questionable middlemen. In its report, Airbus said it has "engaged legal, investigative and forensic accounting expertise" to review consultant relationships and is "conducting enhanced due diligence" related to middlemen agreements.


Besides the UK and French probes, which are being conducted in coordination with each other, Airbus detailed criminal allegations raised in February by the Austrian federal ministry of defence over the 2003 sale of Eurofighter aircraft, and separate investigations in Germany, France and Greece.

Airbus did not specify which consultants have sued the company, how many cases have been filed or the exact nature of the claims. A spokesman declined to commen


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