Airbus' sky-high settlement - Focus on global reach and collaboration in anti-corruption prosecutions
On January 31, 2020, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced a settlement with Airbus SE (Airbus), the French aircraft manufacturer, in relation to bribery allegations and, in the US and France, export control violations. The combined penalties total US$3.9 billion, the largest anti-corruption settlement in history. The settlement offers insight into corruption enforcement in the different countries and, perhaps more importantly, a view of the future of coordinated multi-jurisdictional investigations and enforcement.
The case illustrates the trends that we are seeing in our practice: (i) regulators and prosecutors are increasingly working together to investigate and resolve issues; (ii) the ambit of extra-territorial jurisdiction is being continually expanded; and (iii) common global standards for effective compliance programs are emerging.