Austria sued Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium on Thursday, alleging wilful deception and fraud linked to a near 2 billion euro (£1.70 billion) jet order in 2003, reports Reuters.
Alternatively, Austria said that it could sue the two companies for 1.1bn euros over the same allegations which was made against it. On the other hand, Airbus said that the accusations made were unexpected and it was a “political get away” by certain groups of people.
Hans Peter Doskozil, Austrian defense minister, said the investigation done suggested that Austria would not have decided to buy the Eurofighters in 2003 without the counterfeit deception. He also added that the first order of Eurofighters used by the German army were very costly during process and that the Eurofighter program would cost about 80million euros for Austria. A new report was to be compiled by the ministry for less costly alternative options in the market.
Eurofighter program is a joint venture between Airbus, BAE system and Italy’s Leonardo for provision of a modern fighter jet for the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, and other countries interested in the buying of the jets. A total of 160 aircrafts had been purchased by the UK for military purposes.
Airbus said in a statement that it was already surprised by the reports from the media about their involvement in the Eurofighter program. There has been an alleged repayment claims on the part of the Austrian Ministry of Defense against Airbus Defense and Space.
There ministry has received neither a notification of a criminal complaint nor any other information concerning this matter or any other accusations made by the ministry. On the contrary, the ministry has never had such accusations and this might be the first time. Therefore, there is no basis of the accusation of bad faith and fraud, rather they appear to be contrived and they are strongly denied by the ministry.
Therefore, announcement that was made today is a political maneuver and propaganda of no basis at all. Our policies are therefore being continued and active support of the Austrian authorities in finding out more about the allegations.