US Investigating Bombardier Over Garuda Indonesia Jet Sales

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested several documents from Canadian plane maker Bombardier to aid an investigation into claims of fraud regarding deals with Indonesian airline Garuda Indonesia. Bombardier is currently under investigation for the same deals in the UK.

US Investigating Bombardier Over Garuda Indonesia Jet Sales
Bombardier is now being investigated in the US and the UK for bribery and corruption regarding sales of its CRJ1000 in Indonesia. Photo: Bombardier

According to Reuters, the US has joined the ongoing investigation in the UK regarding the sale of jets to Garuda Indonesia in 2011 and 2012. The US DOJ has requested several documents from Bombardier, which the manufacturer is said to be providing. Bombardier is fully cooperating with authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Which deals are being investigated?

The deals that are being investigated center on the sale and lease of Bombardier’s CRJ1000 jets to the Indonesian airline just over a decade ago. There have been several accusations of bribery and corruption, but as the investigation is ongoing, specific details haven’t been revealed.

The SFO in the UK announced its investigation in November 2020, and Bombardier came forward to say they would happily cooperate in providing evidence. Since the deals took place so long ago, the current CEO, Eric Martel, was not in the top job at the time and has said they were unaware of any internal issues. Bombardier is using external lawyers to examine the issue and carry out an internal review.

US Investigating Bombardier Over Garuda Indonesia Jet Sales
Garuda Indonesia has been accused of bribery over deals with Airbus and Rolls-Royce. Photo: Getty Images

Bombardier isn’t the only one being investigated

Bombardier has been dragged into instigations in the US and the UK because of other deals made by Guarda. Previous investigations found that ex-CEO of Garuda Indonesia, Mr Emirsyah Satar, received additional financial payments for orders the airline placed with both Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

Mr Satar was detained, convicted, and jailed for bribery and money laundering. Airbus was forced to pay $4 billion, and Rolls-Royce paid $800 million in a settlement. However, while the investigations were ongoing, investigators became suspicious of several Bombardier deals. Bombardier has also faced investigation in Sweden and Spain over the past few years for similar alleged crimes regarding rail deals.

US Investigating Bombardier Over Garuda Indonesia Jet Sales
Bombardier is cooperating with both investigations but could end up with a hefty fine. Photo: Bombardier

What if Bombardier is culpable?

Since the investigation is ongoing, it isn’t known how likely it is that Bombardier could be found guilty of any wrongdoing. No official charges have been brought against the company or an individual at this stage. If there is evidence of bribery or corruption, the manufacturer will likely be slapped with a large fine.

If there is any evidence of an individual taking bribes, then criminal charges can be brought against one person. This is what happened to Mr Satar. This could end up with jail time and a criminal record as well as a fine.

With the main investigation taking place in the UK, Bombardier is allowed to provide additional evidence. Providing evidence before being asked for evidence can result in a softer penalty. But, with a joint investigation in the US, the manufacturer may still find itself with a large penalty; not ideal after one of the worst years in aviation history.

What do you think of the situation with Bombardier? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.