It was confirmed on Friday that Airbus is to pay nearly €1bn (£840m) to settle corruption cases with UK authorities, following a lengthy investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into its use of middlemen to secure plane deals. The settlement is part of a €3.6bn deal that also involves payments to US and French authorities.
It’s also a much-needed success for the SFO, whose director Lisa Osofsky told Wake Up To Money: “it’s a very good win for the taxpayer.” She added: “What we got is actually more than three times all the criminal fines put together through all of 2018 throughout England and Wales.”
And it may not end there, because individuals involved in corruption could still face prosecution in their own right. But as Ms Osofsky said, the “majority of the bad conduct” took place in France, so it’s really up to the French authorities to pursue those cases.
“Corruption like this harms the world,” Osofsky told the BBC. She said the main victims were “struggling states” such as Malaysia, Ghana and Taiwan, who were disadvantaged by the need to pay “backhanders” to secure deals. “What they have to offer the world is actually being dripped out into the pockets of the rich,” she added.