Airbus staff arrested over Saudi corruption allegations

UK's Serious Fraud Office have questioned four former and current employees, sources told the Financial Times.

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

British regulators have arrested and questioned four former and current employees of an Airbus unit that operates in Saudi Arabia, as part of a probe into allegations of corruption in the country, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

The daily quoted people familiar with the investigation as saying that UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had questioned two employees at GPT Special Project Management, the Airbus unit that provides communications and intranet services for the Saudi National Guard. The other two were former employees, the sources said.

Britain's SFO had almost two years ago launched a criminal probe into allegations that Airbus's then-parent, European defence group EADS, bribed Saudi Arabian officials to win a communications contract worth $3.3 billion.

A spokesman for the SFO said there had been some arrests over the weekend but declined to comment on the number of people held. He neither confirmed nor denied whether the arrests were related to an investigation into the Airbus unit.

The SFO spokesman also declined to comment on where these arrests had taken place and whether those arrested had been released on bail.

Airbus told the FT that it understood that four employees had been recently "interviewed under caution" as part of a wider SFO investigation into its unit, but could not at the moment add anything to its previous statement on the matter.

The planemaker could not immediately be reached by Reuters for a comment.

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