Austria sues Airbus over alleged fraud in Eurofighter deal

By Ryan Maass   |   Feb. 17, 2017 at 10:22 AM

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Austria's defense ministry has filed a criminal complaint against two Airbus subsidiaries for alleged fraud regarding a Eurofighter procurement deal.

Airbus inked a $2.1 billion contract with the Austrian government in 2003 for the delivery of 18 Eurofighter Typhoon jets. The country downsized the deal to cover 15 jets in 2007, and later ordered a review of the purchase. Defense officials concluded the aerospace contractor deceived the government on the cost of the planes in addition to technical specifications.

"The report that I have received clearly states: Without the fraudulent and deceitful actions of Airbus Defense and Space GmbH and the Eurofighter Jadgflugzeug GmbH, the Republic of Austria would not have decided in favor of the Eurofighter in 2003," Austria's Defense and Sports Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said in a press release.

The minister went on to add the procurement deal has been corrupted from the beginning, and called for "complete clarification" for the case.

In response to the allegations, Defense News reports Airbus officials denied any criminal wrongdoing.

"Airbus is surprised by today's press conference by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence raising criminal allegations," the company said in a statement. "We cannot see any foundation in particular for the allegations of bad faith and fraud."

The Eurofighter Typhoon is twin-engine multirole fighter designed and built by a consortium of European defense contractors, including Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo-Finmeccanica.

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