VIENNA, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Airbus has filed a legal submission to Austrian prosecutors denying any wrongdoing in response to allegations of fraud and wilful deception linked to a $2 billion fighter deal.
Europe’s largest aerospace company hit back against Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil, saying his public accusations disregarded the presumption of innocence and thus violated Airbus’s economic and fundamental rights.
Vienna prosecutors are investigating Airbus, the Eurofighter consortium and individuals including Airbus chief Tom Enders following a legal complaint from the defence ministry over the 2003 jet purchase.
One of Austria’s key accusations is that Airbus deceived it about side deals intended to boost the local economy that were required to agree the purchase. It also questioned the companies’ ability and desire to deliver some of the planes, suggesting the deal was not economic for the planemakers.
“Both allegations are unsustainable,” Airbus’s chief lawyer Peter Kleinschmidt told journalists in Vienna. “Both the ability and the willingness to deliver (the planes) were given at all times,” he said.
A final report of a parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances of the jet purchase, how side deals were awarded and whether bribery payments were made, is expected on Tuesday.
$1 = 0.8368 euros Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Mark Potter