Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 11:07 UK

Airbus admits to spying on staff

Airbus A380
Airbus said the checks had been carried out in line with the law

Aircraft maker Airbus has admitted to spying on its staff in an attempt to uncover potential corruption.

Airbus ordered checks on all staff working in Germany from 2005 to 2007, the company acknowledged.

The checks were to see if workers' bank account numbers matched those of suppliers. No wrongdoing was found.

The head of Germany's national rail operator Deutsche Bahn resigned this week after the company also admitted to spying on thousands of its employees.

At that time, an internal comparison of data was regarded as being legally permissible

The Airbus checks, which were ordered by former management at the company's German business, emerged in an audit launched by current management.

"At that time, an internal comparison of data was regarded as being legally permissible," Airbus said.

However, it added that it would not do anything like this again.

Staff were immediately informed of the matter.

Corporate surveillance

It is the second high-profile case this year of a company admitting to snooping on its workers in Germany.

On Monday, Deutsche Bahn's chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn handed in his resignation after details emerged of an investigation the firm had led into corruption.

Deutsche Bahn monitored tens of thousands of staff e-mails over many years to check whether they were being critical of the company's policies.

Mr Mehdorn said he had not been aware of the spying but expressed regret over what had happened.

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