Airbus has expressed surprise regarding the criminal allegations raised by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence in relation to a procurement order for Eurofighter jets signed in 2003.
The defence ministry of Austria has also filed a criminal complaint with the Vienna Office of Public Prosecutions against Airbus Defence and Space, and Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug.
In 2003, Airbus inked a $2.1bn contract with the Austrian Government for the supply of 18 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, reported UPI.
In 2007, Austria downsized the deal to cover 15 jets and later ordered a review of the acquisition.
The Austrian ministry has accused the companies of willful deception and fraud with regards to the correct procurement price, the true ability to supply and the precise specifications of the Eurofighter interceptor aircraft.
Austria Defence and Sports Federal Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said: “The report that I have received clearly states: without the fraudulent and deceitful actions of Airbus Defence and Space and the Eurofighter Jadgflugzeug, the Republic of Austria would not have decided in favour of the Eurofighter in 2003.
“Furthermore, the settlement in 2007 would not have been agreed.
"As Federal Minister of Defence, I see it as my duty to report criminal matters that come to my attention and to demand compensation for the damages inflicted on the Austrian taxpayers.”
Airbus has said that the Austrian Ministry has not discussed the issue with it before making the announcement or filing a complaint. It came to know about the allegations from the media and does not have any proper information on the issue.
Moreover, Airbus said in a statement that it “cannot see any foundation in particular for the allegations of bad faith and fraud”.
According to Airbus, the company is continuing its policy of actively supporting the authorities to obtain a complete clarification on the issue.
The damages are expected to amount to at least €183.4m, which can later reach up to €1.1bn.
Image: Eurofighter interceptor on its airbase in Zeltweg, Austria. Photo: courtesy of PUSCH/BMLV.