Austria’s Defense Minister hints at out-of-court settlement as a possible way out for Airbus

The Airbus & the Eurofighter consortium are furious with the manner Austria has been handling the outcome of the deal. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental concept that cannot and should not be cast aside and disregarded – said Airbus to the prosecution.

On Tuesday, Austria’s defense minister stated although he still stands by his legal complaint against Airbus wherein he had alleged fraudulent transactions in the $2 billion plus fighter deal, he is however open to an eventual out-of-court settlement.

Prosecutors in Vienna are investigating the Airbus and Eurofighter consortium following a complaint by the defense ministry, which is seeking up to 1.1 billion euros, over the 2003 jet purchase.

On Monday, in its submissions to prosecutors, Airbus had denied any wrongdoings and had threatened Hans Peter Doskozil, the Austrian Defense Minister, with legal action for disregarding the presumption of innocence.

Doskozil however was undaunted and on Tuesday in his speech in OFR radio he appeared to continue his line of pursuit of settling the matter either in court or out of court.

“Of course we are sticking to our representations of the facts (to prosecutors) and our criminal charge”, said Doskozil.

He went on to add, “It does not matter to me in what way the damage to the tax payer will be repaid eventually, in a settlement outside of court or via a court decision.”

Although Airbus has not seen eye to eye with other European governments, including Germany before, its fury with Austria is unique.

Earlier Doskozil had stated, Austria was preparing a lawsuit based on U.S. rules.

The central point in Doskozil’s allegations revolve around the argument that Airbus deceived its so-called offset deals that were aimed at boosting the local economy, which were a prerequisite to the deal.

Offset deals requires defense suppliers to subcontract a part of the deal to local companies so as to stimulate the local economy. They are a common requirement of government contracts that are aimed to supporting and upgrading domestic skill and technology levels.

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