April 27, 2017 / 10:48 AM / 4 months ago

Airbus CEO calls Austria fraud probe political abuse of system

PARIS, April 27 (Reuters) - Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders hit back at an Austrian fraud investigation on Thursday, describing it as a "politically-motivated abuse of the legal system".

Vienna prosecutors on Wednesday disclosed the investigation against Enders, first reported by Reuters, as part of an enquiry into suspected fraud in a 2003 jet fighter deal.

In a bluntly worded statement, Enders pledged to cooperate, but called the acccusations "unfounded and unsubstantiated" and linked them to possible Austrian elections.

The centrist coalition government's term runs until the autumn of next year and Chancellor Christian Kern, a Social Democrat, has said he expects it to continue its work until then. But speculation persists that a snap election may be called before then. (Reporting by Tim Hepher, Francois Murphy; Edioting by Richard Balmforth)

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