Airbus CEO says won't cling to job amid bribery probes: Report

Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, in Amsterdam on April 12, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

FRANKFURT (AFP) - Airbus CEO Tom Enders told a German newspaper he was prepared to step down if he was "no longer part of the solution", as the aircraft manufacturer fights off a widening corruption scandal.

"I'm not glued to my job," Enders told the Handelsblatt financial daily in an interview to be published Monday (Oct 16), but insisted he currently saw no reason to step down.

The comments come as the embattled company faces bribery and graft probes in several European countries.

"Rest assured: if I'm no longer part of the solution, then I hope I will realise that myself and draw my own conclusions, but I don't see us at that point yet," said Enders, who was appointed CEO in 2012.

The company is under investigation by French prosecutors and Britain's Serious Fraud Office for suspected corruption in Airbus's UK-based civil aviation arm.

The probes were opened last year after Airbus raised suspicions itself over irregular transactions.

The group is also the target of probes in Austria and Germany over the sale of Eurofighter military jets to Austria in 2003.

According to German media, Airbus reportedly used network of shell companies to bribe decision-makers in Austria as Vienna was considering the purchase of the jets.

But prosecutors in Munich said last week that German investigators looking into the allegations had uncovered "little evidence so far of corruption".

Austrian authorities meanwhile brought charges against Airbus in February, claiming they were overcharged and seeking as much as 1.1 billion euros in damages from the company.

Enders warned last week that the aircraft manufacturer could face "significant penalties" relating to the ongoing probes.

"This is going to be a long process and there are potentially serious consequences - including significant penalties to the company," Enders said in a letter to employees.

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