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To Pay or Not to Pay: Airbus Faces Dilemma as Bribery Probes Loom

  • Court says planemaker failed to prove corruption by partners
  • As a result, Airbus faces court orders to pay intermediaries
Assembly Of The Airbus SE Family Of Passenger Jets
Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Airbus SE is being forced by French courts to pay millions of dollars to partners who it alleges used corruption to broker aircraft deals in strategic countries.

In one case, the manufacturer was made to settle an outstanding $825,000 bill from a go-between that helped secure sales in China even after Airbus said it had evidence the business relationship was “tarnished” by corruption, according to an unreported ruling released earlier this month. Airbus argued this “called for suspending all payments.”