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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
EADS sues over leaked documents
Airbus A380 on production line
EADS problems were triggered by wiring problems in the A380
Embattled aerospace group EADS has filed a legal complaint over leaked internal documents hinting at problems at the Airbus owner.

It follows reports in French newspaper Le Monde, which claimed EADS executives were aware of Airbus delays a month before they were officially announced.

The report cited minutes of an EADS audit committee meeting held in May.

As well as legal action - including a claim for damages - an internal probe into the leak has begun, EADS said.

"The legal (grounds) of the complaint are theft, harbouring and unauthorised disclosure of strictly internal and confidential draft documentation, which is company property," the firm said.

"This draft document appears to be used deliberately with the intention of pointing to alleged Franco-German tensions, which are not existing, and which the draft document itself does not even evidence in any way, shape or form."

Crisis

The reports added to pressure at the firm, triggered by news that deliveries of its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo will be delayed.

EADS saw 26% of its share price wiped out following the announcement on 14 June.

Since then, its French co-chief executive Noel Forgeard has been embroiled in allegations of an insider dealing scandal.

On Wednesday, Mr Forgeard was called to the French parliament to explain the crisis, and told MPs he would not quit his post.

The meeting came a day after French regulators raided the Paris headquarters of EADS as part of the share dealing probe.

The investigation, centred on Mr Forgeard, is examining whether EADS executives knew about the A380 delays before they sold shares in the group shares in mid-March.

Mr Forgeard denies any wrongdoing.

Changes ahead

However, the problems at the firm have sparked claims of divisions within the group - with its key German shareholder, DaimlerChrysler, said to be demanding that Mr Forgeard quit.

The carmaker, which owns 30% of EADS, is said to be unhappy with the management structure at the Franco-German firm, which has two chairmen and two chief executives - one each from the French and German sides.

However, any shake-up would leave the firm's French investors with a stark choice.

On the one hand they would have to sacrifice Mr Forgeard and replace him with another French co-chief - possibly leaving the French boss's chair empty while a decision is made - or do away with the dual management structure altogether.


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