In late January, law enforcement agencies in France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. announced a major bribery enforcement action against Airbus. (See here, here and here for prior posts). The conduct at issue generally focused on use of third parties by Airbus to corruptly obtain business in numerous countries around the world.
In light of the recent Airbus enforcement actions, today’s post republishes this December 11, 2009 FCPA Professor post which highlighted how U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan) (whose jurisdiction had a large Boeing presence) alleged that Airbus was engaged in bribery around the world.
U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan) has alleged that Airbus and its parent company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (“EADS”) pay bribes in order to get business.
In a recent article in Human Events Online (see here, scroll down a bit), Tiahrt states that “agents for the Airbus company have openly said that yes we do use bribery, in fact we budget for it.”
Tiahrt’s accusation follows an October 2009 letter (see here) he sent to the Deputy Secretary of Defense in which he stated that “[i]t is well documented that EADS has bribed foreign officials in buying products instead of American products.” Tiahrt states that “EADS has been subject to bribe-related scandals in Belgium, Canada, India, Kuwait, Switzerland and Syria.” He further notes that the “[t]he US intelligence community has characterized EADS as the most corrupt corporation in the world” and urges the Deputy Secretary of Defense to read the CIA briefing on EADS.
Tiahrt’s main concern appears to be that “[f]oreign companies, such as EADS, do not have to comply with the [FCPA].”
For the record, I am not so sure that Tiahrt is correct. For instance, EADS (the corporate parent of Airbus) has ADRs registered with the SEC. (see here). Further, Airbus has several business locations in the U.S. (see here).
As the passage of time would indicate, Airbus certainly was not immune from FCPA scrutiny although – as highlighted in this prior post – the jurisdictional basis for the FCPA enforcement action was limited.