MEmployees of the air and armament manufacturer Airbus have evidently used internal plans of the German Armed Forces in order to gain advantages in a tender for several million orders. About 17 named acquaintances and unknowns inside and outside the Franco-German group is currently being investigated, confirmed the so-called public prosecutor in Munich on Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Defense, there is a suspicion that employees or business partners of Airbus have illegally obtained documents from the Bundeswehr. In concrete terms, these are two procurement projects, which will probably be awarded to companies by the military in Berlin over a formal tender procedure in the next two years and whose order amounts are in the tens of millions, confirmed the persons entrusted with the process by F.A.Z. Concretely affected by the allegations are several people working for Airbus in communication, education and security.
Numerous projects for encrypted communication and internal data transfer within the armed forces are handled in this business area with its 4000 employees in Germany, France and Great Britain.
Papers were declared as "classified"
The dubious treatment of their employees with the sensitive planning documents of the military allegedly called the Airbus managers months ago on the plan. After all, these are papers that were previously declared by the Bundeswehr as "classified information" and "only for official use". It is not by chance that the coveted documents from the Ministry are worth money for the managers in the defense industry concerned.
The Airbus compliance department, following its investigation, concluded that the records were not legally owned by its employees. Further details would now be the investigation of the public prosecutor in Munich, Airbus has switched on a few days ago. According to the company, this is not a self-report: "We contribute to clarifying the facts through proactive disclosure," said a spokesman for Airbus in Munich, without, however, giving any further details. The Ministry of Defense is also investigating.
The military in Berlin had been informed on Tuesday about the events at Airbus. The affair caused surprise there and was immediately classified as politically explosive in Berlin. On Wednesday, therefore, was a written briefing of the Obleute in the Defense Committee. The Ministry has also initiated in-house investigations to clarify which documents could have been distributed unauthorized from the planning, equipment or cyber / IT departments. So far, however, there is no information as to whether, in addition to documents that would normally be passed on to manufacturers as part of procurement, further documents could have been illegally obtained by Airbus employees.
The Legal Department of the Ministry cooperates with the Public Prosecutor's Office
The procurement office in Koblenz (BAAINBw), which normally carries out tenders and procurements, is also eligible for inquiries. As long as there are no further indications of possible criminal acts and occasions for special internal investigations, the responsible department law is involved in the process, which in turn cooperates with the Munich public prosecutor's office, it was called from the ministry in Berlin.
Airbus is working with external lawyers in its ongoing internal audit and assisting the authorities in the investigation. More than ten employees of the group have already been released. In addition, files and computers have been secured.
(t) German Federal Armed Forces (t) Public Prosecutor (t) Federal Ministry of Defense (t) F.A.Z. (t) BMVg (t) Military