Exploring the 'Bullshit Castle': Airbus Corruption Scandal May Lead Straight to the Top - Spiegel
A potentially vast corruption scandal threatens to overrun Airbus, with a Paris-based sales group suspected of having paid bribes around the world. German CEO Tom Enders is leading the clean-up effort, but documents reveal that he might not be as spotless as he claims. By DER SPIEGEL Staff
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October 09, 2017 11:47 AM
This is a story of a global company. About its secrets. It is the story of a corrupt corporation.The company is called Airbus.
It is a story that begins with the word "shit," with a Dacia Duster and with a tiny company that could cost the CEO of Airbus his job. Because he, too, apparently has a bit of a skeleton in his closet.
But first things first.
First, the word "shit": It is June and top company managers have gathered for a meeting in Toulouse, France. CEO Tom Enders is standing on the stage. He has been with the company for 17 years, but his English is still less than fluent and he speaks with a heavy accent. But the message to his top managers is nevertheless crystal clear. "If there are still people in this room, that believe we should put the shit under the rug -- then I would have to say, I give up on these people."
Enders, 58, speaks of a past that Airbus has long sought to deny, years in which the company partly relied on bribes as it rose to become the world's second-largest airplane manufacturer, after Boeing. And Enders speaks of a present in which all of that is beginning to come out -- a situation that poses grave dangers to the company he runs.
At issue are potential multibillion-euro fines and multibillion-euro losses. Indeed, the very survival of Airbus, with its 134,000 employees and its annual turnover of 67 billion euros ($78.6 billion), could be at stake. Hence, the message from Enders to all those who haven't yet got the message, to those who think they can just carry on as before, including the bribery: "Leave this company rather than make us take you out of the company. Because we're in a dead serious situation, dear colleagues."
Which brings us to the Dacia Duster. At the end of May 2017, in the Romanian city of Bacau, a man was finally able to fulfill his dream of buying a new car, having managed to save up enough money for a diesel vehicle from the affordable Dacia brand: a special edition Black Shadow Duster. To make the purchase, though, Constantin Ster had to take out ...