Former chief of Airbus detained in insider probe: source

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2008 02:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 01 2008 10:02 AM

Agence France-Presse

PARIS - The former German head of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Gustav Humbert, was detained for questioning by France's financial crime unit Monday in connection with alleged insider trading at Airbus parent EADS, a source close to the matter said.

The French financial market regulator, AMF, in April alleged in a report that Humbert sold 160,000 EADS shares in November 2005, earning 1.685 million euros (2.7 million dollars).

He is suspected of having benefited from privileged information on EADS' financial prospects as well as delays to the Airbus A380 superjumbo project, which were announced in June 2006 and caused the stock to fall sharply.

The source said Humbert, who took over Airbus in June 2005 and resigned in July 2006, was taken into custody on orders from investigating judges Xaviere Simeoni and Cecile Pendaries.

He can be held for up to 48 hours, during which time he can be brought before the magistrates who can either decide to charge him or to designate him as a witness in the case.

Former EADS chief executive Noel Forgeard and the company's former general manager, Jean-Paul Gut, have already been charged in the probe. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

The announcement in June 2006 of a six-month production delay on the A380, the world's largest airliner, threw EADS -- the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company -- and its aircraft unit into crisis.

The EADS share price fell 26 percent on the stock market and Airbus launched a restructuring programme to shed 10,000 jobs.