The company is facing numerous concurrent investigations into alleged corruption. Why? Because, in most cases, it voluntarily turned itself in
“Prepare for turbulent and confusing times” is rarely a reassuring injunction, least of all in an all-staff email from the boss. But those were the words of Thomas Enders, chief executive of Airbus, as he warned employees in October that they would soon be reading about yet another allegation of corruption in the morning papers.
Within days the German magazine Der Spiegel had published a lengthy investigative piece alleging that Europe’s largest aerospace multinational had operated a London slush fund, distributing millions of dollars to accounts held by companies in tax havens. Before the month was out, the firm would reveal to investors that it had reported itself to authorities in the US, this time over potentially breaching regulations on the use of agents to sell sensitive weapons technology.