The logo of Airbus Group is seen on the company's headquarters building in Toulouse
Vienna - Vienna prosecutors are investigating Airbus chief executive Thomas Enders for suspected fraud in connection with a $2 billion (R26.33 billion) Eurofighter jet order by Austria more than a decade ago, the prosecutors’ office said.

Correspondence listed Enders as one of those accused in the investigation, and a spokesperson for the Vienna prosecutors’ office said that information was correct.

“I can confirm that,” the spokesperson, Nina Bussek, said.

Airbus spokesperson Martin Aguera declined to comment.

In February, Vienna prosecutors opened a criminal investigation after the defence ministry said it believed Airbus and Eurofighter misled decision-makers about the purchase price, deliverability and equipment of the 2003 warplane order.

A person close to Airbus, asking not to be named, said Enders had not been notified of any proceedings against him and had not so far been considered a witness in the investigation.

Enders and Airbus, which was called European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company (EADS) at the time the fighter jet order was agreed, have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Enders was head of EADS’s defence division when the contract was signed. He took responsibility for combat aircraft a few months later.

Read also: Airbus confirms bribery probe

The Eurofighter consortium, which comprises BAE Systems, Italy’s Leonardo and Airbus, has also denied any wrongdoing.

Airbus shares shed gains after it was reported that Enders was being investigated, and fell as much as 1.1 percent. They were up 0.3 percent at 74.32 euros at 2.40pm on Thursday.

Austrian and German prosecutors have separately been investigating for years whether officials received bribes aimed at ensuring they chose Eurofighter jets over rival offers from Saab and Lockheed Martin.

Allegations surfaced almost immediately after the purchase was agreed that money was pocketed by politicians, public servants and others via brokers for so-called offset deals accompanying the transaction.

These deals, common in large arms purchases, are designed to provide work for local businesses in countries placing orders.

Austria’s defence ministry has alleged Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium illegally charged nearly 10percent of the purchase price of 1.96 billion euros for these side deals. -