Airbus CEO calls for transatlantic trade war ceasefirep

(Reuters) – The head of European planemaker Airbus called on Saturday for a “ceasefire” in a trade war with the United States over aircraft subsidies, which has led to billions of dollars in tit-for-tat tariffs on airplanes and other goods.

In an interview on France Inter radio, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury also urged European nations to ease border restrictions that have crippled air travel across the continent during the coronavirus crisis.

Washington progressively imposed import duties of 15% on Airbus jets from 2019 after a prolonged dispute at the World Trade Organization, and the EU responded with matching tariffs on Boeing jets a year later. Wine, whisky and other goods are also affected.

“This dispute, which is now an old dispute, has put us in a lose-lose situation,” Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a radio interview.

“We have ended up in a situation where wisdom would normally dictate that we have a ceasefire and resolve this conflict,” he told France Inter.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

Brazil, which has waged separate battles with Canada over subsidies for smaller regional jets, on Thursday dropped its own complaint against Ottawa and called for a global peace deal between producing nations on support for aerospace.

Faury said the dispute with Boeing was particularly damaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has badly hit air travel and led to travel restrictions or border closures. He expressed particular concern about widening bans within Europe.

“We are extremely frustrated by the barriers that restrict personal movement and it is almost impossible today to travel in Europe by plane, even domestically,” he said.

“The priority no. 1 for countries in general is to reopen frontiers and allow people to travel on the basis of tests and then eventually vaccinations.”

The comments come as businesses increase pressure on governments to reopen economies as coronavirus vaccine roll-outs gather pace across Europe.

France has defended recently introduced border restrictions, saying they will help the government avoid a new lockdown and stay in force until at least the end of February.

Germany installed border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria last Sunday, drawing protest from Austria and concerns about supply-chain disruptions.

Berlin calls the move a temporary measure of last resort.

Poland said on Saturday it had not ruled out imposing restrictions at the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Ghana Working To Get Its Share Of $30m Airbus Compensation-Govt

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has stated that the government has commenced efforts to get the country’s share of the Airbus compensation repatriated to Ghana.

He reveals the state has since June this year, engaged with an international law firm to help Ghana to repatriate its share of the fines.

According to the Minister, the government is aware of a some $3.9 billion in fines imposed on Airbus by the joint justice systems of France, the UK and the US.

“Government is aware that out of the $3.9 billion in fines imposed on Airbus, some $30 million relates to actions taken in Ghana.”

Official documents from a joint three-country investigation on the Airbus scandal have shown that Ghanaian parties involved in the affair received millions of Euros in bribe money.

The deal took place between 2009 and 2015, during the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration under former president John Mahama.

“Government is aware that out of the $3.9 billion in fines imposed on Airbus, some $30 million relates to actions taken in Ghana.”

He added: “the government has “since June, this year, been engaging with an international law firm that has got extensive experience in investigations and anti-corruption [related to international transactions] to see how they can best assist Ghana to repatriate our share of the fines, which can be put to good use.”

“There is history and precedence the world over, other countries that have succeeded in getting a repatriation of parts of international fines or damages [include] the United States and Kyrgystan.”

“We are optimistic that working through this channel [the law firm], we believe that we will be able to at least retrieve the $30 million component that accrues to Ghana, repatriated to Ghana so that we can put to good use in enhancing our anti-corruption institutions.”


I would have interrogated Mahama over Airbus scandal if not for election 2020 – Martin Amidu

Source: Joseph Ackah-Blay

Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu says he would have interrogated NDC’s Presidential Candidate John Dramani Mahama if not for the upcoming elections.

Mr. Amidu says the former President who is seeking re-election is the infamous ‘Government Official 1’ whose “brother is Samuel Adam Mahama”.

These statements form part of a risk assessment report the Office of the Special Prosecutor submitted to government on the Agyapa Royalties Agreement.

Mr. Amidu goes beyond the Agyapa deal to give an update on some of the key cases his office has been investigating.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) in July issued a Red Notice for Samuel Adam Fosters aka Samuel Adam Mahama in connection with his role in the Airbus bribery scandal.

He is being sought for allegedly accepting bribe to influence a public officer and acting in collaboration with a public officer for the public officer’s private gain.

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

Ghana is one of five countries in which the European aviation giant, Airbus, paid or attempted to pay millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for contracts, leading a court in Britain to slap a fine of £3 billion on the company.

In court documents and hearings, Airbus admitted five counts of failing to prevent bribery, using a network of secret agents to pay large-scale backhanders to officials in foreign countries, including Ghana, to land high-value contracts.

The scheme was run by a unit at Airbus’ French headquarters, which its one-time Chief Executive, Tom Enders, reportedly called “bullshit castle”.

According to the report, there are six key actors involved in the scandal regarding Ghana.

Investigators from the UK’s SFO identified them only as Government Official 1 (high ranking and elected), Intermediary 5 (British national and close relative of Government Official 1), Company D (corporate vehicle for Intermediary 5 – shareholder), Intermediary 6 (British national and associate of Intermediary 5), Intermediary 7 (British national and associate of Intermediary 5), as well as Intermediary 8 (Spanish company and front for Intermediary 5).

Mr. Amidu says his probe has so far revealed that three blood brothers engaged in forgery and deceived a public officer to obtain a passport for Samuel Adam Mahama.

He goes on to explain why he has not interrogated the NDC candidate.

“The only reason the former President has not been invited for interrogation is the fact that he got himself an insurance as the Presidential candidate of the other largest political party in Ghana and prudence dictated that the Interrogation be held in abeyance during this election season.

“The former President has also not offered to make any voluntary statement to this office,” Mr. Amidu said in the statement.