Airbus is in talks with Munich prosecutors to settle a long-running investigation into the allegedly fraudulent €2bn sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria in 2003.
The European aircraft maker confirmed it was in discussions on Saturday.
A settlement would close the three-year probe in Germany and could cost the European aircraft manufacturer tens of millions in fines. A separate investigation in Austria targeting several Airbus executives, including chief executive Tom Enders, continues. Mr Enders and Airbus deny any wrongdoing.
The group is also under investigation in the UK and France for alleged corruption in the use of middlemen to win deals for its commercial aircraft business.
The German inquiry followed the decision by a new Austrian government in 2006 to investigate the controversial purchase of 18 fighter jets. The investigations have focused on whether funds intended for so-called offset deals — investments into the local economy by a vendor — were diverted to influence the outcome of the Eurofighter bid.
Negotiations for the Eurofighter contract were led by Airbus’s defence business — where Mr Enders was chief executive — on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, jointly owned by the European aerospace group, BAE Systems of the UK and Leonardo of Italy.
Airbus is expected to publish the amount of the settlement when it announces results next month.
In a separate development, Airbus also revealed that it would have to pay €104m in compensation to Taiwan following international arbitration on a dispute over a defence contract signed 20 years ago.
The dispute involves Matra Défense, acquired in 1998 by one of the French predecessor companies of Airbus. Six years before that, Matra had signed a contract to sell missiles to the Taiwan government, which were delivered over the next decade. Airbus refused to clarify the details of the subsequent commercial dispute.
It said that Matra Défense was reviewing the compensation award before evaluating the next steps.
“Today’s disclosure on the arbitral award relating to a case dating back as far as 26 years symbolises the progress Airbus is making in its efforts to overcome legacy legal issues,” the company said.