An Austrian Parliamentary report looking into a 2003 Eurofighter Typhoon deal has failed to find evidence in support of claims that Airbus had bribed local officials to approve the deal, Reuters reports Thursday.
Vienna commissioned the investigation in February in order to ascertain whether claims made by the Defense Ministry Hans Peter Doskozil —that politicians accepted bribes from Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium during the procurement’s tender process—were true.
Doskozil’s office sued Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium in February for allegedly deliberately misleading Vienna about the purchase price, delivery times and technical equipment of the 18 jets in 2003 contract.
Former Defence Minister Norbert Darabos, a Social Democrat who negotiated the settlement with Eurofighter, was one of the politicians strongly criticized for allegedly having allowed Airbus to outwit him.
But the parliamentary report said no indications were found “that there would have been unacceptable influence on Darabos and his entourage in the context of the settlement negotiations”.
While the report found no proof of bribery involving lawmakers, it did uphold another ministry complaint that the government were “deceived” by the consortium that they could deliver certain jets as initially agreed, and also found that Airbus had provided millions of euros in sponsorship money in connection with the deal to a soccer club that is seen as close to Austria’s Social Democrats— the ruling party during the tender.
The defense ministry said this week said it was open to an out-of-court settlement with Airbus and the consortium. But if no agreement were possible, it would also consider filing a lawsuit based on U.S. rules.