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Home News Investigators raid Airbus chief’s offices

Investigators raid Airbus chief’s offices

Published on 06/04/2006

PARIS, April 5, 2006 (AFP) - French investigators on Wednesday raided the offices of Airbus chief executive Gustav Humbert, as part of a defamation probe launched after senior French figures were falsely accused of money-laundering, a source close to the case told AFP.

The search carried out at Humbert’s offices, near the south-western city of Toulouse, followed a series of raids targeting top executives from the European defence and aerospace giant EADS, which owns 80 percent of Airbus.

EADS vice-chairman Jean-Louis Gergorin, and co-chief-executive Noël Forgeard — as well as several senior French intelligence figures — have been targeted in the probe, in which Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is a civil plaintiff.

Investigators are trying to identify an anonymous informer who accused a string of top French figures, including Sarkozy, of running secret bank accounts through the Luxembourg-based clearing house Clearstream.

The accusations, targeting French businessmen, politicians and police officers, were sent in 2004 to the judge investigating alleged corruption in the sale of French frigates to Taiwan, and later revealed to be a fabrication.

A four-year French probe has alleged that a large part of the US $2.8 billion dollars (EUR 2.37 billion) paid by Taiwan for six French-made frigates in 1991 went on commissions to politicians and military officers.

French investigators opened a defamation probe against the mysterious informer, following legal action by two of the industrialists, former Thomson boss Alain Gomez, and Philippe Delmas, a top EADS executive.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news