Airbus Execs Accused of Insider Trading

Ex-CEO, others sold millions before A380 delay announced
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2007 9:05 AM CDT
Then European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS) joint CEOs Thomas Enders, left, and Noel Forgeard chat during a statement for the 2005 FY earnings in Paris, in this March 8, 2006 file photo. A lengthy...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Accusations of "massive" insider trading by Airbus executives and shareholders have exploded into full-out political scandal. French investigators have learned that 21 top executives and two big shareholders in EADS, the Franco-German consortium that owns the airplane company, cashed in stocks shortly before Airbus announced a June, 2006, production delay for its A380. The setback caused shares to drop 30% in one day.

Airbus' former CEO cashed in $3.4 million in shares before the drop, which he terms "an unfortunate coincidence." One shareholder accused of insider trading is Lagardere, the media consortium headed by a friend of Nicolas Sarkozy. Lagardere is now suing Le Figaro, the French daily that broke the accusations, after its own stock price dropped 6% yesterday.