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SFO investigates Bombardier over Indonesian deals

Alan Tovey
·2-min read
CRJ-1000 
CRJ-1000

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating Bombardier over suspected bribery and corruption related to deals with the airline Garuda Indonesia.

The probe is thought to relate to sales and leases of the Canadian-based company’s CRJ-1000 regional jet, which the carrier agreed to buy 18 of almost a decade ago.

Parts of the plane were produced at Bombardier’s factory in Belfast and the company confirmed the SFO’s involvement as it posted third-quarter results on Thursday.

The case could be complicated by Bombardier agreeing the sale of its regional jet business to Mitsubishi last year, and with Spirit buying the aerostructures division from Bombardier. 

In May, Garuda’s former chief executive Emirsyah Satar was sentenced to eight years for bribery and money-laundering related to purchases of aircraft and engines from Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

Interest from the SFO in Bombardier could lead to heavy penalties for the company if it is founded to acted illegally, even though it no longer owns the division linked to Garuda.

SFO investigators jointly led a massive multi-year investigation into Airbus, which last year resulted in the plane-maker agreeing to pay a record €3.6bn (£3.2bn) settlement.

The deal ended investigations into what were labelled by a judge as endemic levels of bribery around aircraft sales, which included a deal with Garuda.

Garuda was also named in a £700m penalty agreed by Rolls-Royce in 2017 to settlement allegations of corruption around contracts for aircraft engines.

Bombardier said that after the conviction of the former Garuda boss, no charges were laid against the company or its staff.

It added that soon after it launched an internal review into the Garuda transactions, which is being conducted by external counsel, and the company is also co-operating with the SFO on a voluntary basis.

The company has met with the SFO to discuss the status of its internal review and potential assistance with the SFO investigation on a voluntary basis, Bombardier said. 

The SFO declined to comment because the investigation was ongoing. Garuda did not respond to a request for comment.