Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace multinational, is to pay a record £3bn in penalties after admitting before the high court in London it had paid huge bribes on an “endemic” basis to land contracts in 20 countries. 

The planemaker reached settlements with investigators in the UK, France and the US to end inquiries that started four years ago.

Anti-corruption investigators hailed the result as the largest ever corporate fine for bribery in the world after judges declared that the corruption was “grave, pervasive and pernicious”.

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