Airbus SE is being sued by its shareholders in the US, over misleading statements portrayed to investors over the company’s management of, and avoidance of, corruption accusations over the last five years.
The class action, which is seeking unspecified damages over alleged violations of US securities laws, was filed by shareholder Andrew Kornecki in the federal court of Newark, New Jersey.
The class is made up of shareholders who purchased or otherwise acquired Airbus securities in the US between 24 February 2016 and 30 July 2020, inclusive.
Along with the company, chief executive Guillaume Faury, his predecessor Tom Enders, as well as CFO Dominik Asam and his predecessor, Harald Wilhelm, were all also named as defendants in the suit.
The suit accused Airbus of concealing the shortfalls in its compliance policies and controls, resulting in a greater exposure to the risk of probes on whether bribery and corruption helped boost revenue and profit.
The suit said this failure resulted in various regulatory actions and settlements that caused Airbus’ stock price to fall.
This all follows on from a series of corruption and bribery accusations that saw authorities for the UK and France launch an investigation into the company, as well as one of its subsidiaries, dating back as far as August 2012.
The probe into Airbus itself was launched in 2016, marking the beginning of the shareholder class.
These investigations came to a head, with a significant $4 billion settlement made by Airbus in January over corruption charges from US, UK and French authorities, with instances argued in over a dozen countries.
A US judge called the ordeal a “pervasive and pernicious bribery scheme”.
Further, on 30 July 2020, it was reported that the UK Serious Fraud Office had also charged Airbus subsidiary, GPT Special Project Management, along with three individuals inside the business, with corruption in connection with a defence contract the UK had arranged with Saudi Arabia.