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Austria sues Airbus and Eurofighter consortium over alleged fraud

Staff Writer |
Austria sued Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium, alleging wilful deception and fraud linked to a near 2 billion euro ($2.1 billion) jet order in 2003.

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The defence ministry said that following an investigation it believed Airbus and Eurofighter had misled Austria about the purchase price, deliverability and equipment of the jets.

The incurred damage could amount to 1.1 billion euros, Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil told a news conference in Vienna.

Airbus said it denied the accusations vigorously. "The publication of criminal charges against a listed company by means of a press conference... is not acceptable for Airbus and can only be described as unprofessional," said a spokesman.

Austrian and German prosecutors have been investigating the case for years and Munich prosecutors have said they expect to complete separate preliminary proceedings by mid-year.

"As defence minister, I consider it my duty to report facts relevant for criminal prosecution and to claim compensation for the Austrian taxpayers' damage. This is what we did today," Doskozil said.

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