Austria's defence ministry to sue Airbus over alleged corruption and bribery

The Austrian Press Agency said that the probe had found that Airbus had falsely inflated prices 

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The Independent Online

The Austrian defence ministry has said that it will sue the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus over alleged corruption and bribery.

A spokesman for the country’s defence ministry, speaking to AFP, said that the findings into an investigation of a 2003 deal under which Airbus sold 15 fighter jets worth €2bn to the government, would be presented later in the day.

The Austrian Press Agency said that the probe had found that Airbus had falsely inflated prices during the transaction.

Prosecutors in Vienna and Munich have also been investigating whether officials were paid millions of euros through advisory firms to secure the contract, AFP reports.

The agency says that the initial decision to complete the deal had been struck in 2000, when the country’s far-right entered a coalition government with the conservative People’s Party.

Not long after the deal was clinched, however, allegations began circulating that politicians and others involved in the deal were receiving kickbacks, AFP writes, adding that a probe was set up in 2007 to look into possible bribes, but came to no concrete conclusion.

Five years later, Austrian and German authorities launched a fresh corruption inquiry. Prosecutors in Munich are set to finish their preliminary proceedings later this year, according to AFP.

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