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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Kuwait to investigate $1bn Airbus helicopter deal

State audit bureau asked to check all documents related to the deal and submit a report

Airbus Helicopters CEO, Guillaume Faury in front of an Airbus military helicopter. Janek Skarzysky / AFP
Airbus Helicopters CEO, Guillaume Faury in front of an Airbus military helicopter. Janek Skarzysky / AFP

Kuwait said on Wednesday it had ordered an investigation into a deal with aircraft maker Airbus to supply 30 Caracal military helicopters, worth US$1.19 billion, for its air force.

The announcement comes as Airbus faces several international investigations into commercial and military sales that have raised questions over the future of senior managers.

Airbus Helicopters chief executive Guillaume Faury will replace Fabrice Bregier as head of the main Airbus plane making division, two sources familiar with the decision said last week.

The French defence ministry said in August last year that Kuwait had placed the order. It came after then French president Francois Hollande was invited by Gulf Arab leaders in May 2016 to address their summit in Saudi Arabia, a rare privilege for a European leader.

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Kuwaiti state news agency Kuna quoted minister of cabinet affairs Anas Al Saleh as saying that the prime minister Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah had ordered the Caracal deal to be investigated.

"It has been decided to transfer the case of the Caracal helicopter deal to the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate it and to take all the measures regarding it," Mr Al Saleh said, according to Kuna.

He also said the country's state audit bureau had been asked to check all documents related to the deal and submit a report to the cabinet.