The secret Kazakh bung worrying Airbus

By and

A French judicial investigation into suspected corruption surrounding the sale to Kazakhstan of satellites made by aerospace giant EADS, now renamed Airbus Group, has discovered the trace of a mysterious payment of 8.8 million euros made by the group to an offshore company whose true owners are unknown, apparently even to Airbus. The investigation also centres on the sale to Kazakhstan by EADS of 45 helicopters, and the deepening scandal implicating Airbus in what has become dubbed “Kazakhgate” is joined by separate probes in France and Britain into the group’s alleged corrupt practices in past sales of its civil aircraft. Martine Orange and Yann Philippin report.

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Airbus Chief Executive Thomas Enders and three other high-ranking management figures from the European aerospace group were interviewed by French anti-corruption police last month in connection with the sale to Kazakhstan of satellites and helicopters by the group under its former name EADS.