Ex Airbus unit ordered to pay $42 million over corrupt Saudi contracts

LONDON (Reuters) - A former Airbus subsidiary was on Wednesday ordered to pay more than 30 million pounds ($42 million) after pleading guilty to corruption over contracts to provide military communications services for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

GPT Special Project Management Ltd, which ceased operations last year, told London’s Southwark Crown Court earlier that it would admit to one count of corruption between December 2008 and July 2010.

It was ordered to pay a confiscation order of 20.6 million pounds, a fine of 7.5 million and costs of 2.2 million.

The resolution of the corporate case, after a near nine-year investigation, was described by pressure group Spotlight Corruption as a “stunning and hard-won victory” for the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which prosecuted the case.

The SFO filed charges against GPT and three individuals last year. A trial of the individuals has been pencilled in for May, 2022.

The investigation is unconnected to a record $4 billion deferred prosecution agreement struck by Airbus and U.S., British and French authorities in 2020 after a three-year probe into allegations of bribery and corruption over jetliner sales.

($1 = 0.7186 pounds)

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley. Editing by Mark Potter and David Evans