For those who feel like a little (slightly horrifying, but not especially surprising) insight into the French way of doing business, might I recommend reading this article from the Economist giving a detailed history of the various occasions in which Airbus Industrie have been revealed or alleged to have paid kickbacks in order to procure orders for their airliners. It is worth observing that to some extent the cause of the problem is the traditional structure of the airline industry, in which there have been a great many state owned carriers for which aircraft purchases have had to be approved by (very corruptible) government (or in some instances even military) officials. Airbus are by no means the first company to indulge in this sort of activity, but the enthusiasm with which they apparently have gone about it, and the apparent collusion and encouragement of the French government, are quite impressive.
The Delhi court has a withering opinion of the help Airbus has given the CBI. It allowed Mr Wadehra to add Airbus’s Indian subsidiary to his action on the grounds that Airbus in France was not co-operating. Airbus told Mr Wadehra that French law forbade it from answering his questions. “[Airbus] sells its aircraft on their merits,” the firm insisted.
The court has castigated the CBI for its dilatory approach. It took the Indian authorities until 1995 to contact Airbus for information, only to be told that such requests should be routed through the French government. The CBI told Mr Wadehra, despite trying Interpol and diplomatic channels, it was not getting any help from the French government. The French embassy in Delhi in effect told Mr Wadehra to get lost when he wrote to ask why France was not co-operating.
(Link via Arts & Letters Daily).