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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 10:53 GMT
New twist in Airbus share probe
Aerial shot of Airbus A380 plane
Delays to the Airbus A380 have cost the firm billions
Managers at defence and aerospace firm EADS were aware of problems affecting A380 planes before they sold their shares, a businessman has claimed.

The BBC's Dominic Laurie has learned that the new allegations will be given to an investigation of insider trading at EADS, the parent firm of Airbus.

The trading in shares occurred shortly before news about delays to the A380 superjumbo were made public last June.

EADS denies it knew about delays when millions of euros of shares were sold.

The announcement wiped 26% off the value of Franco-German EADS.

New evidence

German investigators are investigating the extensive sale of stock options by certain senior managers and key shareholders before the problems with the plane were revealed.

Key French politicians in power at the time have been called in front of parliament to give evidence of what they knew about the dealings, and when.

"EADS says it has not been accused of any insider trading, that investigations are still continuing, and that it is cooperating fully with stock market authorities," said Dominic Laurie, the BBC's correspondent in Brussels. "And executives who did sell shares at that time have also always said the timing was merely unfortunate - and that they had no privileged information," he added.

However, French businessman Jean Galli-Douani told the BBC that this was not the case.

Mr Galli-Douani claims that senior executives at the firm knew about serious problems with the A380 project long before they made that information public.

His allegations stem from March last year, when Mr Galli-Douani was trying to solve a contractual dispute and he claims he could not get hold of any senior management at EADS to sort it out.

Mr Galli-Douani alleges that recently a senior executive admitted to him that at the time they could not take his calls because they were busy trying to resolve problems to do with the A380.

This followed a previous conversation in November last year when another executive had suggested that management had been caught up with "general problems at Airbus".

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