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Rogue Airbus Unit the Focus of Record $4 Billion Settlement

  • Total fine will be divided between France, U.K. and U.S.
  • Airbus boosted profits by 1 billion euros, prosecutors say
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Photographer: Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images

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Airbus SE used a department with a $300 million annual budget to illegally sway government officials and other decisionmakers on airplane sales, boosting profit by more than $1 billion in a long-running bribery campaign, according to documents filed in the biggest corporate bribery case on record.

The European planemaker admitted guilt and agreed to pay $4 billion in a settlement approved Friday by courts in France, the U.S. and the U.K. According to documents filed in the cases, the crimes spanned countries including Malaysia, Russia and China over 13 years. A French prosecutor said in court that the plan helped to boost the company’s profits by 1.05 billion euros ($1.2 billion).