Airbus agrees to bribery settlements with France, the UK and the USA. As a result, the plane maker will pay huge fines. The total amounts to €3.6 billion ($4 billion), but Airbus avoids criminal prosecution of the company. The biggest part pertains to France that settles corruption charges for €2.1 billion ($2.3 billion). In the USA the settlement is for €984 million ($ 991 million). And the UK settles for €525 million ($582 million). All 3 settlements have been approved by courts.
In addition, current or former employees can still be prosecuted. As the French prosecutor Jean-Francois Bohnert says: “Individuals remain answerable. We are now going to examine individual responsibilities.”
Whether this will be successful remains to be seen. In 2019, the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) attempts to prosecute individuals following another settlement with engine maker Rolls-Royce. In this case there are third-party sales agents run from a now-disbanded headquarters unit. However, the SFO’s attempt fails.
Putin teaches Trump
One of the aggravating factors in the Airbus case is corruption of public officials. In the USA the situation is now worse than before. At the 2016 presidential elections Hillary Clinton receives almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. However, Trump wins the Electoral College and, thus, the presidency.
With Trump, corruption and nepotism enter the White House. But Trump’s acquaintance, Russia’s ruler Vladimir Putin, teaches him how to distract the public’s attention from his corruption and nepotism. Just accuse your rivals frequently of corruption, is Putin’s advice. After some time, many people will believe it and will forget about your corruption.
Corruption and nepotism
This is precisely what Trump does. He appoints his daughter and son-in-law on White House positions, which is pure nepotism. Also, he planned holding the 2020 G7 summit in his own Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which would be pure corruption. Only after bipartisan criticism that he is trying to profit financially from the G7 meeting he reverses course. It illustrates his lack of a moral compass.
Following Putin’s advice, Trump accuses Joe Biden’s son of corruption without evidence. Public attention is now focused on that rather than Trumps nepotism and corruption. (See our article “A shady president.”) Putin, indeed, is in the position that he can take other measures as well, like imprisoning or killing political rivals. (See our article “It was a Buk from Russia.”) At one of the weekly rallies organized to applaud Trump, he tells his base nostalgically that in the past this was also an option in the USA.
Corruption Perceptions Index
The USA has always been more corrupt than Northwestern Europe. In 2016, just before Trump entered the White House, the USA ranked 18 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. After 3 years of Trump, however, the USA appears to be more corrupt. In 2019, the country drops out of the top-20 and ranks now 23. Apart from a tax cut for the rich (including Trump himself), he hardly achieved anything. Making America more corrupt is his biggest success.
Tags: Airbus, bribery settlements, corruption, Donald Trump