(Bloomberg) – The shares of Airbus SE have fallen as a result of the announcement that the US Department of Justice has officially opened an investigation into the European planner alongside British and French corruption investigations.
The stock fell by 4.4%, the biggest drop in 2.5 years. Le Monde said Airbus had been informed by the end of the summer of the move by the US authorities. The newspaper added, without specifying where it was pulling information, that the company could be fined billions of dollars.
"Airbus cooperates with US authorities in close coordination" with investigators from the United Kingdom and France, the company said in a statement.
The Ministry of Justice is currently studying the company, told Bloomberg people familiar with the case, asking not to be identified during discussions on private matters. Airbus had revealed in February that US agencies had asked for information to assess whether any of the alleged acts in the European investigations could fall under the jurisdiction of the United States.
DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by email.
Click here for: Airbus corruption issues in Europe raise questions in the United States
The Toulouse industrial giant, in France, has been pursued by a series of investigations concerning the use of intermediaries to secure aircraft sales. Chief Executive Tom Enders announced that he would not seek a new term in a climate of persistent uncertainty.
Enders, who is trying to convince French and British investigators that Airbus is serious in the fight against irregularities, has already warned that investigations could result in "significant penalties". He will be replaced by Guillaume Faury in April.
UK's Office of Serious Fraud and French National Financial Office Investigate Possible Corruption in the Airbus Jet Industry, Who Agrees to Spend 81 Million Euros to Settle a German Sales Corruption Investigation of combat aircraft dating from 2002.
Click here to read: Airbus says it's informing the United States of the accuracy of compliance
For decades, Airbus has forged a global duopoly on the passenger aircraft market with Boeing Co. Its main intermediaries were middlemen, who had relationships with authorities and air managers around the world. The purpose of the investigations is to determine whether these foreign agents paid bribes to secure transactions.
(Updates with probe information in the fourth paragraph.)
– With the help of Gaspard Sebag and Tom Schoenberg.
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