Non-disclosure issues in the United Kingdom
Lead NCPUnited Kingdom
Supporting NCP(s)None Selected
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by the NGO Corner House Research regarding the activities of Airbus SAS operating in the United Kingdom.
Theme(s)Combating bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion
Date4 Apr 2005
Host country(ies)United Kingdom
SourceNGO
Industry sectorManufacturing
StatusConcluded
Summary

Read the final statement issued by the UK NCP concluding the specific instance - 5 November 2010


In April 2005, the UK NCP received a request for review from the NGO Corner House Research who alleged that Airbus Systems SAS had breached the combating bribery provisions of the Guidelines in relation to its operations in the United Kingdom from April to October 2004. More specifically, the NGO alleged that the company:

  1. refused to disclose details of its agents and its agents’ commissions to the UK Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), and
  2. sought an assurance from the ECGD that it could withhold disclosure of its list of agents and agents’ commissions on grounds of commercial confidentiality. 

On 3 August 2005, the NCP decided to defer progressing the specific instance until the conclusion of the ECGD’s consultation on its anti-bribery and anti-corruption procedure. The specific instance was subsequently revived following a change of members of the NCP. In a letter dated 15 December 2009, the NCP offered professional conciliation/mediation, but Airbus did not take up the offer. The NCP therefore informed the parties that it would move to an examination of the allegations.

According to the NCP, the combating bribery provisions in the Guidelines mean that companies should provide a list of agents upon request from competent authorities, which is not subject to a qualification that disclosure can be withheld on grounds of commercial confidentiality.

In this instance however, the NCP could not make a finding as to whether Airbus made applications for support to the ECGD during the relevant period and, if it did, whether it refused to disclose a list of agents. The NCP was thus unable to discern whether or not Airbus had breached the Guidelines. Furthermore, the UK NCP found that seeking an assurance from the ECGD did not constitute a breach of the Guidelines' provisions on combating bribery. The UK NCP therefore concluded the specific instance.