The Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in the civil aviation business of Airbus.
These allegations relate to irregularities concerning third party consultants.
The French aircraft manufacturer announced the probe last night and said it is co-operating with the British authorities.
The Serious Fraud Office is a specialist prosecuting authority tackling the top level of serious or complex fraud, bribery and corruption. It is part of the UK criminal justice system covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. It takes on a small number of large economic crime cases.
This criminal investigation represents a further blow to the aircraft manufacturer which revealed an extra €1.4bn hit in its half-year profits last month from problems with the A350 and the A400M military transport aircraft.