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French police question Airbus chief in EADS probe

Airbus CEO Thomas Enders has been questioned by the French police as part of a corruption investigation involving parent company EADS. In total, 17 former or current EADS officials have been cited in the case.

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AFP - Airbus chief executive, German Thomas Enders, has been questioned by French police as part of the corruption probe against the planemaker's parent company EADS, a spokesman told AFP Thursday.

Enders, who was co-president of the European defence giant EADS in June 2006, was neither charged nor placed in custody after his questioning in Paris on May 20, the spokesman added.

In total, 17 French and German current and former bosses or officials of EADS and its main subsidiary, Airbus, are suspected of insider trading between 2005 and 2006 by the French financial market regulator, AMF.

These include nine of French origin, four Germans, two Americans, a Finn and a Briton.

Five people have already been charged with this offence.

According to AMF, Enders sold 50,000 stock options in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company in 2005 for a pre-tax profit of more than 700,000 euros (970,000 dollars).

The sale was made around the time that problems were appearing with the flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.

Last year, Enders slammed the probe as a "show trial."

However, according to the website of French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Enders' hearing, which took place last week, is a sign that the investigation is nearing its completion.

The website cited a judicial source saying the probe would be completed before a major Paris airshow begins on 15 June.

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