New article in Der Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/international/bus ... 71533.html
I thought this was going to be a boring story but some of the details are very interesting, e.g. stealing the identities of two unknowing outsiders (one a lawyer, another a poor school employee) to set up accounts to launder millions of Euros between Airbus entities. Like something out of the movie Chinatown. It shows that Airbus (or at least EADS France) knew what they were doing was illegal.
Well, that's an amazing article.
A few fair use quotes:
First, with regard to Enders:
But even before the dubious company Vector was founded in London in 2004, there had been another company in Cyprus. It, too, is thought to have received a significant amount of money from EADS, apparently also to drum up business to boost the Austrian economy. That was the promise EADS made to Vienna in exchange for the Eurofighter order. And the predecessor company in Cyprus was also dubious. And who approved its founding according to the minutes of the relevant meeting? Tom Enders. And who received a long memo when Vector took over? Enders again. The same man who is currently posing as the anti-corruption superhero.
A major part of the article is that Enders himself in the past supported the creation and use of the dubious shell corporations. Yet in current times Enders seems to be positioning himself as the one who is cleaning things up and who must survive if the company itself is to survive. Meanwhile the fact that Enders is pointing the finger at the former Airbus sales office in Paris is making many insiders feel this is a German trying to suppress the French.
It seems to me that Ender's "turbulent and confusing times" phrase is a realization that he himself might find himself in the dock, despite his best efforts to save his skin.
Second, with regard to the expansive scope of the investigation:
It's a race that leads around the world. To places like Sri Lanka, where an investigation is currently being conducted into executives at the national airline SriLankan. The country's prime minister believes there were massive irregularities surrounding the purchase of 10 Airbus aircraft in 2013. Or in Mauritius, which bought six passenger jets. Here, the former head of government is believed to have been bribed. Or Tunisia, which bought 16 jets. It's suspected that 70 million euros went to a son-in-law of former President Ben Ali. Public prosecutors in France and Tunisia are investigating. Or in Kazakhstan, where there were apparently bribes in the sale of 45 helicopters. Or China: In 2013, an earlier agent for the company in China, a Turk, demanded a 700-million-euro commission for the sales of 160 Airbus aircraft worth $10 billion. The sum, 700 million, was so enormous that Airbus allowed the dispute to escalate, but the company ultimately had to conclude that the Paris sales division had made previously unknown commitments to the man. The company has since settled with the Turkish national. But it remains unclear whether everything was on the up-and-up. In Mali, the company even purchased shares in a goldmine.
If Airbus is indeed trying to "rip the scab off the wound" it's going to leave an ugly scar.
And thirdly, the nationalistic angle:
In one respect, though, the case of Airbus is even more explosive. After all, much of the company remains state-owned, with Germany and France together owning a 22 percent stake. That makes the case a political one -- and one that could affect the relationship between the two countries. The government in Berlin is eyeing Airbus nervously as the German and French executives in the company attack one another and hate, anger and distrust run rampant. Who knew what, when? Who cast blame at who? Who must now pay? Who will have power in the company when it's all over? The Germans? The French? The battle for truth has become a battle between two countries.
It will be interesting if this breaks out into open nationalistic warfare. In some regard, it seems inevitable. On the other hand, it'd seem that it'd benefit everyone to keep this squabble as contained as possible.
As I said earlier, turbulent and confusing times, indeed!