Airbus UK has reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), following an investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption.
The DPA requires Airbus to pay a financial penalty of £3 billion, which is the largest ever penalty of its kind in the UK. It also requires Airbus to implement a number of compliance measures, including the appointment of a compliance monitor, to ensure that such conduct does not happen again in the future.
The investigation, which lasted more than four years, found that Airbus had engaged in bribery and corruption in order to secure contracts in a number of different countries. The company had used a network of agents to pay bribes to government officials and executives in exchange for contracts to sell its products.
The SFO described the conduct as “systematic and widespread,” and said that it had involved “corrupt conduct by senior executives and employees.” The agency said that the conduct had taken place over a period of many years, and that it had been “coordinated and directed from the very top of the organisation.”
Airbus has agreed to cooperate fully with the SFO`s ongoing investigation into the conduct of individuals involved in the scheme. The company has also agreed to implement a number of measures to strengthen its compliance program and to prevent such conduct from happening in the future.
The DPA is a significant development in the ongoing effort to combat bribery and corruption in the UK. It demonstrates the willingness of law enforcement agencies to take strong action against companies and individuals involved in such conduct.
It also serves as a warning to companies that they must take a proactive approach to compliance and ensure that they have effective measures in place to prevent bribery and corruption from occurring. Failure to do so could result in significant financial and reputational damage, as well as legal action by regulators and law enforcement agencies.
In conclusion, the Airbus UK Deferred Prosecution Agreement is a significant milestone in the fight against bribery and corruption. It demonstrates the importance of effective compliance measures and the consequences of failing to implement them. Companies must take their obligations seriously and work to ensure that they are not involved in such conduct, or else face the serious legal and financial consequences.