Our confidential sources within Airbus have told us that company payoffs to government officials in target countries was common practice. If the PNF and SFO fully investigated Airbus, they would uncover numerous instances in which high-level foreign government officials were receiving kickbacks from Airbus. Our Airbus sources have also stated that senior French government officials were receiving payments, in addition to a slew of European lobbyists acting as intermediaries between the company and foreign governments.
Airbus has admitted in very general terms to paying kickbacks. The company alluded to “misstatements and omissions” in its half-yearly financial report published July 27, and confessed to inaccurately reporting the involvement of independent consultants in April (see The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/09/business/international/airbus-britain-corruption-investigation.html?_r=0 ).
Our Airbus sources claim that if the company makes such a broad apology and pays a public fine, then the details of larger-scale corruption will go unrevealed. In our September 28 post, we highlighted numerous examples of Airbus corruption worldwide. In 2010, for instance, sources tell us that then Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov received 12 million euros, confirmed by Mediapart, as part of a deal of 45 Airbus helicopters to Almaty. The sources also reiterated that senior company officials were fully aware and permissive of payoffs being made worldwide during that period.
As we also previously stated, senior French government officials were receiving payments from Airbus to leverage their political influence in Almaty to help win the helicopter contract with Kazakhstan. Both Aymori de Montesquiou, a Senator in the Elysee, and Etienne Des Rosaies, former assistant to President Sarkozy, met with lawyer Catherine Degoul, who was facilitating commission payments.
What remains unclear is why the PNF and SFO are allowing corruption between Airbus and French officials and other instances of wrongdoing to go uninvestigated.
ARE France's PNF (Parquet National Financier) and the U.K.'s SFO (Serious Fraud Office) trying to cooperate with Airbus to cover up its many cases of gross corruption? The aerospace giant might be close to settling for a 1 billion pound payoff to bury many cases of fraud and corruption it is involved in globally. Airbus has paid large commissions in Saudi Arabia, Romania, Austria, China, Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Mauritius. Its illegal activity is egregiously prolific, and its behavior should be embarrassing to any reputable company.
In Turkey, Airbus hid commissions on 34 of its products through a fictitious plan to construct a pipeline in the Caspian Sea. In Kazakhstan, it paid Karim Massimov--the country's former Prime Minister--12 million euros in kickbacks, all channeled through bank accounts in Singapore.
To add a gloss to Airbus' shadiness, the American firm Dechert is representing its interests against the SFO and PNF. Lawyer Neil Gerrard works for Dechert--and he formerly worked for the SFO, so is no doubt using his former contacts and expertise with the SFO to help Airbus at the negotiating table. This may look like a conflict of interest, but conflicts of interest have never stopped Airbus from practicing its business methods.
Insider sources we contacted claim that a French investigation into Airbus' activities in Kazakhstan, which has not happened yet, would open "a Pandora's box of accusations" and force the PNF to confront Airbus' past record of extreme corruption. A small settlement in the shape of 1 billion pounds would, of course, be no more than another shade of corruption drawing a veil over corporate greed and misbehavior.
So why would France be willing to play along with a tack settlement for Airbus? Have some Elysee officials also been getting kickbacks? Our sources suggest the answer to that is a hard "Yes". Lawyer Catherine Degoul met with two Elysee officials in August 2010 and at the first meeting, Degoul discussed "contracts of interest to Thales and Eurocopter" with Senator Aymori de Montesquiou, an Elysee representative. In a second meeting with Montesquiou, which another Elysee official, Etienne des Rosaies, attended, Degoul discussed commission percentages on multiple contracts, including "Eurocopter/Agusta 4%". This was the percentage commission Eurocopter later agreed to on a sale to Kazakhstan. Eurocopter is a subsidiary of Airbus.
A joint SFO-PNF settlement with Airbus would be preposterous and make a mockery of official attempts to rein in corruption in Europe and elsewhere. The aerospace giant should be investigated down to the last euro of misappropriated fund and so finally open that Pandora's box containing dozens or hundreds of cases of widespread corruption.