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Airbus faces large fine in corruption probe - report

From Reuters - September 15, 2017

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - A newspaper said Airbus could face a 1 billion pound-plus fine from British and French prosecutors over corruption allegations, but people familiar with the case said it was premature to talk about a settlement in an inquiry expected to drag on for years.

The London-based Evening Standard reported British and French prosecutors met last month to discuss the terms of a settlement deal known as a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) following a probe into the use of middlemen to sell jetliners.

It quoted a source close to Britains Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as saying SFO head David Green hoped to agree a DPA with Airbus before leaving his post in April next year. The report comes as the British government considers folding the SFO into another agency.

The SFO and Airbus declined to comment. Frances Parquet National Financier (PNF) fraud police were not available to comment.

The investigations began after Airbus drew the attention of regulators to inaccurate declarations it had made to Britains export credit finance agency over payments to sales agents.

The SFO launched its investigation in August 2016, followed seven months later by the PNF, which legal experts say makes it a relatively young investigation for such a complex case.

Sources familiar with the case said the investigation could last for several years.

Airbus has said the process may be a long one.

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