Airbus Bribery Charges Unveiled After $4 Billion Settlement

By Matthew Dalton and Benjamin Katz

PARIS–Airbus SE (AIR.FR) the world’s largest plane maker, made illicit payments to intermediaries to win contracts around the globe, according to allegations disclosed by a French judge as part of the company’s 3.6 billion-euros ($4 billion) settlement with U.S., UK and French prosecutors.
Airbus disclosed the deal to settle allegations earlier this week. The details of the allegations and the terms of the so-called deferred prosecution deal–the largest international settlement of bribery allegations ever–were disclosed Friday in a French court.
A French judge said the company is alleged to have made illicit payments to middlemen in China, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Colombia and other countries. Airbus disclosed a probe into payments about four years ago. At the time it said it took the matter to authorities itself after discovering irregularities in its submissions for state-backed funding guarantees.