The huge corruption scandal threatening Airbus

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The French and British investigations into alleged corruption at the European aerospace and defence group Airbus centre on claims that hundreds of millions of euros of hidden commissions were paid out as part of massive export deals. Here Mediapart reveals details of a secretive system which flourished inside the group for 15 years and which today threatens some of its most senior figures. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin investigate.

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It is the biggest financial scandal since the Elf oil company affair 20 years ago. According to Mediapart's information the ongoing parallel French and British corruption investigations into the European aerospace and defence group Airbus are examining claims that hundreds of millions of hidden commissions were paid out in relation to the sale of jet airliners, allegations brought to light by the group's own internal probes. In the Elf affair, France's largest corruption scandal to date, some 300 million euros of funds were misappropriated.