Sale of Eurofighters. Austria rejected on appeal against Airbus

The Austrian government said Thursday, November 12, 2020 to study possible legal remedies to obtain compensation from Airbus, after the dismissal on appeal of its fraud complaint after the purchase of Eurofighter fighter jets in 2003.

“I don’t understand the decision” the Vienna Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) which confirmed the closure of the case, dismissing the anti-corruption prosecution and the Republic of Austria, reacted the conservative Minister of Defense, Klaudia Tanner, in a press release.

“I instructed the financial prosecutor to study all the remaining legal means “Available to the Airbus group (ex-EADS) to reimburse the damage,” she added.

An amount of two billion euros at stake

In 2017, Vienna sued the European aeronautical giant for “Scam” concerning the contract for the sale of 18 devices in 2003 and claimed compensation. The government considered that it had been deceived about the delivery capacities, the equipment and the real value of the planes, acquired for an amount of 2 billion euros.

Airbus, which was racing with Swedish aircraft maker Saab and US manufacturer Lockheed Martin, called the accusations “Totally unfounded” .

But in the meantime, the European aircraft manufacturer pledged in February to pay 3.6 billion euros to France, the United Kingdom and the United States, to close investigations targeting it in these three countries on acts of corruption during campaigns to sell equipment.

For the Austrian government, this agreement, considered as an admission by Airbus, lent credit to its demands. However, it was not followed by justice.

A sensitive issue in Austria

In April, a court of first instance dismissed his complaint, having found no basis for prosecution.

The government then challenged the decision and its appeal was dismissed on November 4.

This market says « des Eurofighters » has been marred for many years by suspicion of embezzlement targeting Austrian intermediaries who are still under investigation.

The case returns regularly to the Austrian political and judicial scene.

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