travelin man
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The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:10 am

This week's Economist magazine contains an investigation that accuses Airbus of bribery and corruption with at least 5 different airline deals: Sabena, Air Canada, Kuwait Airlines, SyrianAir, and Air India. Amongst the accusations is that Airbus paid $22.54 million to a "consultant" to "help" with the 1988 $1.5 billion Air Canada deal.

The entire story is here (subscription only, so I won't violate the copyright by copying and pasting).

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1842124

Very interesting reading.
 
N79969
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:48 am

Very interesting. Thanks for posting it. Looks like Airbus may have hastened the demise of Sabena.
 
B-HOP
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:06 am

N79969:-

Rather scary this is written by a British magazine, not 'Time' or 'Newsweek' . What is the point you dump planes to an unhealthy operator, the carrier finish and the second hand/new price of your plane collasped.

Regards
Kev
Live life to max!!!
 
elwood64151
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:11 am

I'm going to read the rest of the article in print (I'm a subscriber).

Aside from describing military equipment contracts as indirect subsidies (Do they expect the government to build military equipment? And do they believe that Boeing doesn't compete with Lockheed, Northrop, FMC, and others for those contracts?), it was a pretty good article. I'll have to correct them on the "indirect subsidies" statement, but other than that, it has been interesting reading.

While I will refrain from accusing Airbus of anything, it is not unheard of for European and American companies to bribe government officials in the developing world to get contracts. Graft, kickbacks, bribes, etc, are frequently used to get a contract or government approval. However, thanks in large part to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, American companies are less and less the ones commiting these acts.

We can, of course, only know crimes are committed by what comes to light, but we do know that, in some instances, companies from other countries get contracts when American companies give a better offer. Sometimes, it's the other way around, admittedly, but Federal Prison is frequently enough of a deterrent to keep people from committing crimes in this country. Not Martha Stewart, but for people who's egos are not the size of the moon, it usually works.

Okay, flame me.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
varig md-11
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:15 am

B-HOP
I agree with you : you can still see some SN 'buses rusting at BOD in France ...

"the (french) government even permitted French companies tax deductions for giving bribes"

waoooh : that's a masterpiece of journalism!
where is the example??
having worked for French ministry of finance I wish I knew it !!
AF TW AA NW DL UA CO BA U2 TP UX LH SK AZ MP KL SN VY HV LS SS TK SQ PC RG IW SE LI TN
 
elwood64151
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:19 am

Um, if you want examples, you can write to The Economist for a bibliography of the article. Why don't you ask them?

I don't know about the tax write-offs, but the bribery of government officials in undeveloped countries is historical across-the-board, from the US to France to Japan to India to China, to every single semi- and fully-industrialized country in the world. And that includes the last thirty years of the 20th century.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
N79969
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:27 am

Bribes are still tax-deductible expenses in Belgium.
 
N79969
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:47 am

Varig MD-11,

How could you not know about the tax deductibility of bribes if you worked at the finance ministry? It has been well-known for years.

http://www.oecd.org/pdf/M00018000/M00018527.pdf
 
LZ-TLT
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:07 am

Looks like "anti-airbus" or "pro-boeing" article written on purpose:

Sabena - since owned by the SAir Group, a decision pro airbus is the more logical thing(IMHO). And the overblown order is rather to be attributed to Philipp Brugisser's megalomaniac concepts.

In the other cases, it is all about state-owned carriesrs and with exception of AC, some lands which have a different culture(it might be tempting to say "third-world lands", but it is not entirely correct. A decision to buy either Airbus or Boeing might be in this cause not entirely driven by economics, but also by political reasons or even by the voice of some mighty man having all the power and reigning single-handedly. As far the actual, factually-backed accusations in the article go, it appeared to me that these are to a significant extent based on coincidences and assumptions. And, when it comes to the Air India, KAC and the Syrian deals, I would speculate, political reasons were(and still are) much stronger to go with Airbus than Boeing, especially in the present time.

A bit of politics might have played also a role in the Air Canada deal(pro-french decision), but I wouldn't speculate further on that, it is just my guess.

All-in-all, for me, the article looks largely biased. And, last but not least, I think Boeing has an equal share of deals conducted that way(if not a larger share than Airbus)
 
travelin man
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:12 am

A bit of politics might have played also a role in the Air Canada deal(pro-french decision)

Apparently $25 million had something to do with it as well.

last but not least, I think Boeing has an equal share of deals conducted that way(if not a larger share than Airbus)

Really? Based on what do you believe this? At least the Economist article sited names, dollar figures, and bank accounts. What proof of bribing and corruption do you have regarding Boeing?
 
GDB
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:19 am

Also a stink brewing about the Gripen fighter deal for the Czech Republic, BAE in the firing line, reminding me of their huge Al-Yamani deal with Saudi Arabia in the 1980's, (still at least BAe as they were then actually built aircraft).
Further back in time was the L1011 deal with All Nippon, a decade before that, the F-104 fighter deal with Germany.
There have been so many, I doubt if any major manufacturer not involved at some time.
 
Arrow
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:50 am

I'm going to read the article -- but this has been played out in the Canadian media for more than 10 years, and got to its most ridiculous level when former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (and others) were accused of being "on the take." In fact, there's a book called "On the Take" that goes into this and other alleged scandals.

But the book has been thoroughly discredited; other books have been written about it since that expose a fair bit of corruption on the scandal-mongering side; and Mulroney sued the current Liberal government for libel and defamation -- winning a huge out of court settlement and an apology.

On top of it all -- the RCMP closed its investigation into airbus just a month ago with no charges and no conclusions.

Now -- I'll go read the Economist piece to see if they've uncovered any new ground. I bet (without having looked at it) that the name Schreiber figures proinently in the piece.

Should be fun.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
AvObserver
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:30 am

[But the American government has also spoken out on the subject of bribery. Two years ago Grant Aldonas, an under-secretary for international trade, told a congressional committee: “...unfortunately this [aircraft manufacturing] is an industry where foreign corruption has a real impact....this sector has been especially vulnerable to trade distortions involving bribery of foreign public officials.”]

I'm glad they noted this in view of my old postings of the congressional hearings on related matters.

http://www.house.gov/transportation/aviation/07-26-01/07-26-01memo.html

None of this is surprising, there are a lot of us who feel Airbus's meteoric rise from nothing to market leader in 30 years would not have been possible in this short a time without additional factors beyond merely having a competitive product range and service support. It'll be interesting to see now where this goes and whether the U.S. government will use this to bolster its' case if it takes a long-rumored co-complaint with Boeing against Airbus and the E.U. to the WTO. This situation is getting interesting and may be heating up!  Pissed
 
wingman
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:37 am

I haven't read the article yet myself but from the original post I would have to ask why Airbus would ever bribe Syrian Air for a deal? Syria has no where else to go to buy jets.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 9:17 am

If the article's assertions are true then we may have to take a close look at the Airbus deal with EasyJet (U2) for 120 A319's. Is it possible that Airbus officials or a proxy bribed members of U2's board of directors to buy the A319?
 
dynkrisolo
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 9:50 am

Wingman wrote:


I haven't read the article yet myself but from the original post I would have to ask why Airbus would ever bribe Syrian Air for a deal? Syria has no where else to go to buy jets.


How insightful! The author asked the same question!  Big grin
 
luisca
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 11:19 am

I totally agree with not violating the copyright, but isnt posting a summary legal?
If it ain't Boeing (or Embraer ;-)) I ain't Going!
 
N79969
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 11:36 am

Here we have an eminently respected European publication publish a thoroughly well-researched report and we hear stuff like this:

"All-in-all, for me, the article looks largely biased. And, last but not least, I think Boeing has an equal share of deals conducted that way(if not a larger share than Airbus)"

I also want to hear the substance behind this ridiculous allegation.
 
delta-flyer
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 11:42 am

Syria has no where else to go to buy jets.

Russia comes to mind. Old bosom buddies.

Pete

"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
BWIA 772
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:14 pm

N79969

Would you say that airbus just followed Boeing and that Boeing is now upset because they are getting whipped by their own old tricks??

I think that this may be true to some extent but besides launching (where launch customers get planes at discount prices) has Boeing ever sold aircrafts in such large numbers as underhandedly as Airbus is accused of in this article. eg Sabena IA and KAC.
Eagles Soar!
 
N79969
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:52 pm

BWIA 772,

Absolutely not. What evidence do you have to back such a claim? Did you even read the article? Boeing did nothing on the scale and grandeur of the Airbus racket. And since 1977, it has done nothing. On the other hand, Airbus has been quite active.

The bottom line is that Airbus started as part of France SA. The French business culture is apparently nonchalant about corruption. As an organ of the French state, the goverment could never be objective about Airbus. I think the tax exclusions for bribes is evidence of that. Judging by the complexity of the schemes: shell companies, overpaid consultants, and so on one could call Airbus a watered-down, state-sponsored Enron.

Before France change its laws in that regard, African leaders had been calling on France to crack down its businessmen who were spreading the disease of corruption through their bribery practices.

http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations/corrupt/af.htm

 
srbmod
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 6:53 am

I'll definitely be reading this article as soon as the new issue comes in @ work (if it isn't already there right now, it'll be in tomorrow). I have started to read The Economist because it gives a different viewpoint than US mags. Another good read is The Week (published by Dennis Publishing, the publisher of Maxim), it really isn't nothing more than a rehash of various newspaper stuff from around the world, but is a good read for sitting on the toilet.
 
Qb001
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 10:35 am

As Arrow so clearly pointed out, these allegations have been investigated in and out in Canada for nearly 10 YEARS. Not only was nobody able to come up with any evidence, but apologies had to be made. So, that is a CLOSED CASE.

So A. vs B. belligerents, please go back to your barracks.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
BWIA 772
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 11:08 am


Sorry i was responding to this.
"All-in-all, for me, the article looks largely biased. And, last but not least, I think Boeing has an equal share of deals conducted that way(if not a larger share than Airbus)"

And I was not making a claim, I was asking a question which was indicated by the question marks at the end of the first sentence. I am well if the precedent in this forum that requires evidence for any claim made!!

Eagles Soar!
 
backfire
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 5:26 pm

Oh for goodness' sake. Boeing is certainly not going to be dressing in virginal white on this one. Go back and revisit the "irregular commissions" which Boeing denied paying for years - even to the SEC, which takes some balls - right up until 1982 when it was finally forced into admitting the truth.

When it comes to winning multi-million dollar/euro contracts, there's very little moral ground in this world. Greasing the wheels is in some parts of the planet as a perfectly acceptable part of doing business. And if you're so naive as to believe that your favourite company - whichever that might be - is always playing clean and fair, then you're probably in for a rude awakening at some point.
 
VonRichtofen
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 5:50 pm

"you can still see some SN 'buses rusting at BOD in France ..."


Plastic rusts??  Big grin  Big grin
 
airsicknessbag
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 5:54 pm


Strange: this is nothing really new, why does it surface now?
It was the 80s, with then Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss and his cronies spinning a big wheel as Airbus sellers. There was also corruption involved in the PA and TG orders during that time.

(Yes, that´s the guy after whom MUC is named. I´m just glad they didn´t change the code to "FJS", à la JFK.)

One of the guys involved with this is being sought by the German judiciary, he´s hiding in Canada. If FJS had´nt died in 1988, he´d be indicted today too.

Daniel Smile
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 6:52 pm

Having read the article, I would like the Economist to produce a "special report" on Boeing next week, for the sake of balance.

It would have been nice to report on corruption in the Aviation industry as a whole, rather than just focus on Airbus.
 
dynkrisolo
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:40 pm

But they did report on Boeing. In the US, as a result of the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Boeing could not have this kind of practice. Boeing pleaded guilty to false statements about commissions on the sale of commercial aircraft prior to 1977. The article went on and said FCPA could be side-stepped using foreign subsidiaries and cited an example of a hearing in 1990 on sale of deHavilland aircraft to Bahamas Air. At that time, Boeing owned deHavilland.

You don't fabricate stories just for the sake of balance.

[Edited 2003-06-14 14:04:43]
 
jmc757
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sat Jun 14, 2003 10:33 pm

Its not just Aviation, and its not just Airbus. EVERY industry will have corrupt deals all the time. Its a fact of business. Accept it. I'm not it makes it right, but it just happens.
 
afay1
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sun Jun 15, 2003 9:27 am

I read this article today onboard a Swiss flight from Zurich, poetic justice?.....
 
FDXmech
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sun Jun 15, 2003 4:32 pm

>>>Its not just Aviation, and its not just Airbus. EVERY industry will have corrupt deals all the time. Its a fact of business. Accept it. I'm not it makes it right, but it just happens.<<<

By saying, "accept it", you are in fact, saying it's right. By accepting it, illegal and unethical business practices will go from the periphery of business to the norm. This is what prevents many undeveloped countries from moving forward, institutionalized corruption.
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
Udo
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:26 pm

I'm still waiting for the day when an author brings to light the fact that Airbus has stolen all its plane designs and innovations from Boeing, MDD and Lockheed....or that the Romans once colonized the moon and G.W. is in fact an alien spy who broke out from Roswell and wants to start WWIII in order to prepare for his race the invasion of earth...  Wow!  Nuts


Regards
Udo
Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
 
PHXinterrupted
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 3:49 am

It's interesting how many of the Europeans are trying to turn this thread into an anti-Boeing/American thread instead of investigating why their beloved Airbus has engaged in such activities.
Keepin' it real.
 
9V-SPF
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:44 am

Corruption was and always will be existent where big loads of money are being transfered. In fact, nobody can really imagine what the worldwide economy would look like WITHOUT corruption because it´s such a big part of it, a bad part of the socitey made up by human beings that we surely don´t have to accept but have to live with.
IF Airbus did take advantage of criminal tactics they should be punished for that, as well as any minor or major company in whatever industry, but everybody should wait for until that exact point of time where it is proven that they did break the law before demanding measures which clearly aren´t yet justified.

And Phxinterrupted, come on, who in this thread did in what way show any sort of anti-americanism? That´s just ridiculous.

Daniel
 
srbmod
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 6:00 am

The article really does show to what lengths Airbus has gone to get customers, even if those airlines really didn't need (or could afford) these Airbus a/c. They don't paint a clean picture for Boeing either, but the main point in the article is how several national governments have had to pay because of the lining of pockets by Airbus to nationalized airlines. Bribery may be S.O.P. in many parts of the world, but in a civilized West, such machinations are outdated and highly unethical.
 
LZ-TLT
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 8:01 am

Srbmod:

What you stat in your post:
Bribery may be S.O.P. in many parts of the world, but in a civilized West, such machinations are outdated and highly unethical.

might be right from theoretical poit of view, but facing the facts and thinking a bit more and this turns into wishful thinking. Despite dobtfull from an ethical point of view, it is not outdated, it is just a thing nobody wishes to see(unless you recieve some bribe or are the person who is bribing for some reason. Corruption always has been, is and will be. There are also enough facts to back the these that corruption(to a certain extent, not talking about total corruption) is ESSENTIAL for any kind of trading and business. I think everybody who posted on this thread might come up with its own reasons why it is so, even you.

And one question:
Even if Airbus HAS pushed its business through bribery, do you think Airbus would be around now and would it be the company it now is or would it be some smaller company with no real chance to be a serious competitor to Boeing? Would it be good to the market to have only Boeing and the RJ manufacturers still around? Well, let's assume Airbus didn't do any bribery and failing to achieve on the way of becoming a serious competitor to Boeing? Would it be good to the market?

Now, the actual situation is a strong competition between A and B. Is it good for the market? Is it good for the future of aircraft desings and air transport?

My point in this - While not justifying corruption as "ethical" or "legal", it certainly is an act which might have positive effects on the whole scene. Just condemning it because of "civilized West"-culture or "unethical" and not seeing this background is IMHO a bit myopic.
 
dynkrisolo
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:27 am

Why do so many people have the impression that without Airbus, Boeing would have no competition. McDonnell Douglas was a competitor up until 1997. They were not as effective a competitor as Airbus is now. But without Airbus, they could have been a better competitor.
 
gigneil
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 12:57 pm

Bribery may be S.O.P. in many parts of the world, but in a civilized West, such machinations are outdated and highly unethical.

Fortunately... the West has no right to dictate business practice to the world at large, and, even further, claim itself to be more civilized. This is the first thing you get taught in any reputable international trade class and certainly has been well driven into people with MBA's in international trade.

It's interesting how many of the Europeans are trying to turn this thread into an anti-Boeing/American thread instead of investigating why their beloved Airbus has engaged in such activities.

For the same reason you don't spend each and every day investigating why everyone around you isn't wearing a ceremonial robe and headdress and performing ritual sacrifices on the hour... its not part of their culture to be concerned about what they see as a perfectly normal business practice.

N
 
Ruscoe
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:25 pm

I am appalled that anyone would try and be an apologist for bribery and corruption.

In Australia and I think the USA such practises are investigated and punished, not condoned as being best for the national interest. Bribery and corruption when it occurs here, is by way of individuals actions not part of the culture.

Ruscoe



 
N79969
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 2:17 pm

Airbus would not be around without legalized bribery, launch aid, and my personal favorite: "repayable" loans. McDD would still be around had Airbus not been given these breaks.

I am also disturbed by the non-chalant "so what" attitude I am seeing from the Europeans. Bribery is not part of the normal course of business and should not be tolerated.
 
Udo
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 2:53 pm

MDD failed because they were not able to build any more aircraft which the airlines wanted and needed. You just cannot survive by only focusing on streched DC-9s and DC-10s. But I know, it's always much easier to blaim the 'evil' other instead accepting the own failure.

If bribery should not be part of the normal course of business and should not be tolerated, then what's about spying with the help of military satellites? No NSA, no Saudia Boeing deal...and some people talk about ethics.

I have long accepted the fact that some Americans always point the finger at the others, obviously believing in the myth of their own holiness. No surprise any more, only causes me to laugh.


Regards
Udo
Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
 
magyar
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 3:19 pm


What many people who lives in the sheltered environment of the US or
West Europe do not realize is that unfortunately there are countries in
the world where bribery is part of the normal life. I mean you either
bribe or you DO NOT make ANY business. I do not want to name
any such countries but they are usually the less developed ones.

And for those who likes to reve about the beuty and cleaness of Boeing
just think about the recent scandal about the Expandable Launch
Vehicle Contract. Boeing illigally obtained information about the the bid
of Lockheed (IIRC they bribed a Lockheed engineer). The Wall Street
Journal recently had a whole page of apology from P.Condit. He was
bubbling about high work moral of Boeing and a few bad deed who
spoiled that...etc. How hypocritical!
 
Ruscoe
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:34 pm

I doubt Forgeard or one of the CEO's of EADS will even be asked a question in public by a reporter, about the Economists article.

I am not saying corruption does not occurr on our side, but we are saying it is unacceptable, we do not support it, and it is not in the best interests of anyone for it to continue to distort the marketplace.

Ruscoe
 
Joni
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 5:51 pm


Airbus isn't the only manufacturer that sells planes to airlines outside the Western cultural sphere. You have to know the local business practices to be effective, if they didn't then Boeing would have a 100% market share in those areas. And vice versa.


 
gigneil
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 7:14 pm

I am also disturbed by the non-chalant "so what" attitude I am seeing from the Europeans. Bribery is not part of the normal course of business and should not be tolerated.

Repeating it over and over doesn't make it true. Its an accepted business practice pretty much everywhere BUT the US.

That doesn't mean I like it, but as an American businessperson I've gotta put my best foot forward anyway, rather than jumping up and down on it screaming foul.

And even then... I can say specifically that my company makes many business deals based on which companies fly which of our management to what exotic island for vacation bi-yearly, and I don't think I've ever worked somewhere large that doesn't.

The big push for "standards of business conduct" really only hit here in the US in 1997 or 1998.

N
 
dynkrisolo
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RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 9:45 pm

Gigneil:

If it's acceptable in the rest of the world, why would the French change the laws? If it's acceptable, why would the Economist investigate these allegations?

Magyar:

Your Lockheed/Boeing example show how the US government is trying to hold the US companies accountable for their actions. If Boeing is found to be guilty, they will be fined, contracts can be revoked, and future biddings can be disallowed. There is a price to pay if one is unethical.

Udo:

It is true MDC failed because they didn't have the right products. But if there wasn't an Airbus to take business away from them, MDC could potentially have made more money to invest in the future.
 
N79969
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:43 am

RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 9:57 pm

The logic that I am seeing is that if Airbus does then Boeing MUST be doing it as well. That is nonsense. The article discussed Boeing's misbehavior pre-1977. Even then it did not involve the extensive and elaborate shell games developed by Airbus. Many of these tactics are the same as the ones used by Enron executives albeit for slightly differently but equally corrupt purposes.

Udo:

MDD did not simply fail because its products were not popular. MDD's demise was precipiated by massive support for Airbus, great products from Boeing, and its inability to react to these factors. If Airbus were left to stand on its own as MDD was, the A300 would have been the first and last airplane developed by Airbus.

I have no qualms about the US using its military technology when the EU is actively subverting free commerce through pressure and by condoning blatantly unethical business practices such as bribery. If bribery is really no big deal in the big picture, why were Chirac and Kohl investigated for corruption? Politics is simply the "business" of governance after all.
 
Joni
Posts: 2613
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:05 pm

RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:05 pm


I read through the article, and really all it said was that some Syrians got long sentences for receiving bribes and Indian bureaucrats lost some files (surprise).

The article also wondered why Airbus would bribe Syrians, since they couldn't even buy jets from Boeing even if they wanted to.

The Economist often has imaginative pieces and displays an all too rare ability to promote proggressive policies, but the paper does clearly prefer Britain's "special relationship" with the US to anything European.
 
N79969
Posts: 6605
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:43 am

RE: The Economist Accuses Airbus Of Corruption

Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:22 pm

Joni,

It said a lot more than that. The article describes the systematic use of bribery to secure deals while Europe looked the other way. By your logic, Enron was simply a case of executives shuffling papers and investors lost their shirts because they simply did not understand it. There is evidence in the article that an Airbus Senior VP benefitted from these scams. If that allegation proves true, then Airbus should consider suing him for the embezzled funds.

Even if you ignore the blatantly illegal aspects of these practices, I think you can easily find very bad business arrangements for all involved. The most obvious is Sabena having to purchase more planes than it required. Other examples include situations Airbus created where they had the same people on both sides of a transaction such as Kuwait Airways. Through these business practices, Airbus spread corruption to its customers like a communicable disease.

Another thing I have noticed in responses to this thread is the inability to distinguish perquisites and bribes. There is a huge difference. Perks are legal and bribes are not. Perks are not per se unethical but bribes are. Every large company has an ethics program or guidance to ensure that employees understand the difference.

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