EADS Commissions External Audit of Group Compliance
Leiden, 15 November 2012
- Leading specialist ETHIC Intelligence to provide external audit of EADS Compliance System
- Full cooperation with the UK Serious Fraud Office on the allegations concerning EADS subsidiary GPT
- PwC review of GPT did not find evidence to suggest that GPT or any EADS Group company asked specific third parties to make improper payments on their behalves
- Slow company reaction to alleged wrongdoing in the GPT matter acknowledged, but whistleblower non-retaliation system proven in practice
- EADS cooperating with public prosecutors on Eurofighter Austria case
In view of current compliance investigations, EADS wishes to state the following:
EADS Compliance Principles and Organisation
The Group is committed to ensuring and continuously improving a state-of-the-art compliance system. The EADS Code of Ethics applies a strict “zero tolerance” policy with respect to fraudulent or unethical behaviour. The Group fully cooperates with the respective authorities on on-going compliance investigations. EADS is also a founding member of the Global Principles of Business Ethics for the Aerospace and Defence Industry that also promote a zero tolerance policy towards corruption.
In recent years, the Compliance organisation of EADS, in place in its current form since 2008, has developed into a well-established core function of the Group’s governance, aimed at effectively preventing corruption. The EADS Board of Directors and the Group Executive Committee have regular reviews of compliance-related matters with the Chief Compliance Officer.
The Group launches audit of its Compliance system
EADS has launched today an external assessment of the EADS Compliance system with ETHIC Intelligence, a leading certification agency specialising in anti-corruption compliance programmes. This compliance readiness test will start immediately and should bring first results by the end of February 2013. Its findings will be communicated publicly.
GPT Special Project Management Limited
With respect to the case of GPT, EADS is fully cooperating with the investigating authority, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). GPT is a UK-registered company conducting business exclusively for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD). As a service provider to the MoD, GPT implements contractual obligations within a government-to-government framework agreement between the UK and Saudi Arabia. In March 2007, GPT was acquired by Paradigm, a subsidiary of EADS’ Astrium Division.
Effective Non-Retaliation System to Protect Whistleblowers in Place
In August, allegations were made in public regarding GPT’s possible involvement in illegal activities. The Group acknowledges not to have reacted swiftly enough when the allegations were first brought forward internally at a subsidiary level. EADS has committed to improving processes that will speed up responsiveness when concerns are raised. However, the subsequent course of events demonstrated that the whistleblower non-retaliation system at EADS functioned as intended.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ review of GPT did not find evidence to suggest that GPT made improper payments
Prompted by the whistleblower’s claims, EADS conducted comprehensive internal audits in 2010, addressing the question of whether illegal payments were made in the case of GPT. Violations of law were not detected by those internal audits. To enable further investigation of the case, EADS engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which conducted an independent review into certain allegations made about GPT, the scope of which was agreed with the SFO. In the period under review and based on the work they undertook, nothing came to PwC’s attention to suggest that improper payments were made by GPT. Further, the review did not find evidence to suggest that GPT or through GPT, any other EADS Group company asked specific third parties to make improper payments on their behalves. In its report, PwC further highlighted that EADS now has a strong compliance regime in place. The PwC report was conducted between November 2011 and March 2012 and provided by EADS to the SFO in March 2012. Separately the SFO initiated an official investigation into the matter in August 2012.
With respect to on-going investigations related to the purchase of Eurofighter aircraft by Austria, Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said: “I take these allegations very seriously and EADS is fully cooperating with the public prosecutors on this matter. However, before having the full picture of what seems to be a very complex matter, we should not rush into conclusions and communication. The company will update the public on further developments as appropriate.”
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.
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