Airbus agreed to pay USD 4 billion to reach an agreement on charges of global bribery and commercial crimes with French, British and American authorities after an eight-year sting. It is the largest all-time sanction for violations of anti-bribery obligations by French authorities.
The first of these investigations was opened in 2016 by the British anti-fraud office (SFO), after an internal company informant revealed a complex bribery network to secure aircraft sales in at least 15 countries.
In this regard, Airbus commented on said bribes stating the company would have offered them to airlines in different countries to favor the purchase of their aircraft. Among the airlines involved is Colombia’s Avianca, as revealed by Airbus. According to Airbus, a senior Avianca executive would have demanded payment for the purchase of A320neo aircraft and negotiations were made for the purchase of 100 planes back on 02 February 2015.
Avianca recently hired international law firm Ropes & Gray to conduct an independent internal investigation into the commercial link between Avianca and Airbus, and thus determine whether Avianca was the victim of improper or illegal actions. Likewise, Avianca went on to slice the purchase of 20 aircraft going from 108 to 88 A320neo planes.