* EADS says to make external review findings public
* Cooperating with UK Serious Fraud Office in GPT case
* CEO says takes Eurofighter Austria case very seriously
PARIS/VIENNA, Nov 15 European aerospace and
defence group EADS has launched an external review of
its anti-corruption rules as it faces ongoing investigations in
Austria, Britain and Germany.
EADS said on Thursday it had hired ETHIC Intelligence, a
certification agency specialising in "anti-corruption compliance
programmes", pledging to make the findings public.
"This compliance readiness test will start immediately and
should bring first results by the end of February," EADS said,
adding: "The group fully cooperates with the respective
authorities on on-going compliance investigations."
Public prosecutors in Austria and Germany said this month
they had searched several EADS sites in Germany in an
investigation into whether bribes were made as part of a sale of
Eurofighter jets to Austria.
Investigations have been ongoing since 2011 and involve
suspicions of bribery, money-laundering and fraud, they said.
Austrian Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said he was
concerned about the deal as some parties who had initially
argued for other suppliers had suddenly changed their minds.
"I am convinced that everything did not proceed cleanly
during the purchase of the interceptor planes," he said in an
interview published in the Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten
newspaper on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the ministry said it had supplied
information to state prosecutors and was awaiting the outcome of
A spokesman for the Vienna prosecutor's office said
investigators were now going through hundreds of files seized
from the EADS offices.
EADS chief executive Tom Enders said: "I take these
allegations very seriously, and EADS is fully cooperating with
the public prosecutors on this matter."
"However, before having the full picture of what seems to be
a very complex matter, we should not rush into conclusions."
Britain's Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal
investigation in August into allegations EADS bribed Saudi
Arabian officials to win a $3.3 billion contract for its GPT
unit to provide communications and intranet services for the
Saudi National Guard.
EADS said on Thursday it had not reacted quickly enough when
the allegations - made public in August - were first raised
internally, adding it aimed to speed up its response in any
Following a whistleblower's claims, internal audits in 2010
did not reveal any illegal payments in the GPT case, EADS said.
A subsequent review between November 2011 and March 2012 by
PricewaterhouseCoopers also found no evidence of improper
payments, EADS said.