The probe started in 2017, and stemmed from Vienna’s 2003 acquisition of 15 Eurofighter Typhoons. Authorities alleged that when the planes were delivered in 2007, instead of getting the then-new Tranche 2-series planes, the Air Force received partially used Tranche 1. Later, prosecutors discovered what they claimed was illegal lobbying by Airbus.
A Vienna appeals court has thrown out the Austrian state’s appeal of a decision by a lower court to halt a criminal investigation into alleged fraud by Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium relating to the Air Force’s 2 billion euro ($2.4bln) purchase of more than a dozen Typhoon fighters.
Prosecutors launched their appeal after a Vienna court ruled to end the fraud investigation in late April, citing insufficient evidence.
In a statement on the appeal court’s decision, the office of Austrian chief legal counsel Wolfgang Peschorn said the state had failed to provide sufficient proof of any wrongdoing.
Vienna held parliamentary inquiries against Airbus and Eurofighter which later turned into a criminal complaint after discovering that the Tranche 2 fighters it thought it ordered for 109 million euros apiece turned out to be older, partially used Tranche 1 fighters which cost Austria 114 million euros each. Investigators later claimed that Eurofighter had spent up to 100 million euros to lobby officials to pick the planes for the state order.