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Airbus says tipped off UK fraud office over corruption claims

Airbus oddices
Airbus oddices AFP

Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched a corruption probe into French-based Europeran aircraft-maker Airbus. The company said it had brought the problem, which relates to consultants, to the authorities' attention itself.

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 "These allegations relate to irregularities concerning third party consultants," the SFO said in a statement.

It said it opened the investigation in July and asked anyone with relevant information to come forward, adding that no more details will be made public until charges are brought or the investigation dropped.

Airbus said that it had been informed of the investigation on Friday and was cooperating with investigators.

 "We ourselves detected this issue and self-disclosed it to the authorities," spokesman Jeremy Greaves said. "This is as an effort of our enhanced anti-corruption [policy]. Management has taken robust action and is determined to resolve this issue in cooperation with the authorities."

The company informed authorities of the irregularities in April, the same month the UK Export Finance decided to suspend export credits to the firm, a move followed by France and Germany.

It said at the time it hoped to resolve the financing problem as soon as possible.

Airbus is the largest commercial aerospace company in Britain and last month said its net profit rose 15 percent in the first half of the year.

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