EADS group leaders are "not cheats" : chief executive

10th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The heads of the European aerospace giant EADS and its Airbus unit insisted Wednesday that the group's executives were not cheats.

   PARIS, April 10, 2008 - The heads of the European aerospace giant
EADS and its Airbus unit insisted Wednesday that the group's executives were
not cheats, as a dossier on alleged insider trading was sent to the Paris
   "I resist any idea that half of the board members of Airbus and of EADS are
cheats and profiteers," said Louis Gallois.
   "The financial information from EADS has always answered the criteria of
transparency," he added.
   Gallois spoke out as France's financial regulator said Wednesday it had
sent its dossier on the case to Paris prosecutors' office.
   "It has also notified the persons concerned," said a spokeswoman for the 
Financial Markets Authority (AMF).
   Sources close to the affair said lawyers for the people named in the
dossier had been summoned by the AMF on Tuesday after the Mediapart web news
service reported that the watchdog had named 17 top EADS officials.
   The 17 included one of the group's former chief executives and the current
head of the EADS planemaking unit Airbus, said Mediapart, citing a report by
the AMF.
   The AMF has been probing alleged share sales before EADS announced major
delays to the A380 superjumbo in 2006, which sent its stock down sharply.
   Mediapart said the officials were suspected of failing to respect a duty
not to sell shares in light of privileged information they had.
   But Gallois argued: "Has anyone looked at the fact that there were not 17
executives who were tradiing stock options but 1,100 executives? 1,100 cases
of insider trading at the same time, that doesn't make sense."
   "The defence from EADS and from its executives will be united," he added.
"We now have access to the dossier and are going to develop our defence with
our lawyers. We have very solid arguments to advance."
   Tom Enders, the head of Airbus, also angrily denied that he and other
officials were guilty of insider trading. He slammed the French probe into the
allegations as incompetent, biased and unfair.
   "I know I have done no wrong-doing and I say the same for all the managers
who are supposedly involved," Enders told reporters in New Zealand.
   "I am absolutely convinced there was no wrong-doing. We will demonstrate
that the people who have done the investigation haven't done that in a
competent way," he said.
   Apart from Enders, the Mediapart report named former EADS co-chief
executive Noel Forgeard and former EADS managing director Jean-Paul Gut.
   Among Airbus board members named were Gustav Humbert, former chief
executive of the company, and John Leahy, its commercial director.
   Also cited were EADS shareholders Lagardere, a French media and defence
company, and German carmaker Daimler.
   The AMF said last week it had concluded its probe but gave no names of
those involved.


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