Kuwait investigates purchase of 30 Airbus helicopters over corruption allegations

The Kuwaiti government Wednesday announced it charged an Audit Bureau to investigate allegations of kickbacks denounced by a local media regarding an agreement with France to buy 30 Airbus Caracal helicopters for $1.1 billion.

“It was decided to refer the Caracal helicopters deal to the Public Anti-Corruption Authority to investigate it and take all relevant measures,” said Anas al-Saleh, the government spokesman and state minister for cabinet affairs.

“With regards to what has been raised in a local daily today (Wednesday)… about the Caracal deal, it was also decided to refer the same issue to the Audit Bureau to scrutinize all data, documents and procedures of the deal,” he added.

The move came after opposition lawmaker Mubarak al-Hajraf raised the issue in parliament on Wednesday and demanded an investigation, after the revelations made by local newspaper, al-Rai.

The local media has denounced the involvement of a middleman in the deal. The media citing French sister media, Marianne magazine, pointed out that the arranger had demanded tens of millions of euros from Airbus as a commission.

Kuwait and Airbus signed another deal in 2015 on the purchase 24 other helicopters.

The European aerospace giant is also facing investigations in the USA and Austria for similar wrongdoings.

The company’s Chief Executive Tom Enders is among the figures being investigated for corruption allegations. He will leave his position at the end of his contract ending in 2019.

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