A Vienna court on Monday found an Austrian arms lobbyist guilty of money laundering related to European defence giant EADS, now renamed Airbus.
Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly received a six-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay 50,000 euros ($50,600), deemed to have been “ill-gotten gains”, a spokesman of the Vienna regional court told AFP.
Both sides can still appeal the verdict. Mensdorff-Pouilly has denied the charge.
According to the indictment, Mensdorff-Pouilly is said to have moved assets for a former division manager of Eurofighter manufacturer EADS, which became the Airbus Group in 2014.
This manager allegedly transferred millions of euros from 2005 by means of fake contracts mostly to a slush fund.
In a separate case, Mensdorff-Pouilly was acquitted of money laundering in 2013 but given a two-month suspended prison sentence for the lesser crime of falsifying evidence.
In that case, Mensdorff-Pouilly, a colorful count, had been accused of greasing the palms to win arms contracts as British defence giant BAE Systems’ alleged central and eastern Europe fixer.
The prosecution’s case was weakened by the fact that BAE executives were not obliged to testify after the firm’s controversial $450-million settlement with US and British authorities to settle this and other cases in 2010.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a major prestige product for the European defence industry, with hundreds of aircraft delivered to Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain, as well as to Austria and Saudi Arabia.
The four founding nations in the consortium — Germany, Spain, Britain and Italy — all use the planes in their own air forces. Other contracts have been signed with Oman and Kuwait.
In 2020, under a settlement struck by Airbus with French, British and American courts, the company agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros in fines to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.