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Possible corruption and bribery issues involving foreign state-owned airlines and the global aerospace industry are being tracked by U.S. law enforcement officials. This was revealed by government and legal sources.
According to a document made available to some news outfits, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has briefed other government agencies back in June about a project centered on possible corruption linked to sales and maintenance contracts between state-owned airlines and aerospace companies.
Although the aerospace industry has already been subject to this kind of scrutiny for a long time, the new initiative concentrates on commercial sales and maintenance contracts and not in defense.
A consultant has revealed that aerospace companies in recent months have been looking for guidance on anti-corruption issues.
The briefing conducted by the FBI was part of a wider overview by the agency of its heightened enforcement of United States anti-corruption laws, a move which has considerably fueled the corporate demand for compliance programs and lawyers that specialize in anti-bribery practice.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fresh focus of the FBI on aerospace, but legal experts said that sector-wide investigations may have stemmed from self-disclosure of problems at one particular company or revelations from whistle blowers. A new law in the U.S. which took effect July 1 makes whistleblowers entitled to huge cash rewards for information about bribery or corruption.
Justice Department officials, as well as those from the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission, refused to comment on the ongoing investigations. However, one former senior official from the Justice Department and a current law enforcement official confirmed that the aerospace industry is an area of continuing interest.
“The aerospace industry has always been something that’s been on the radar screen,” revealed by the former senior official.