French authorities have launched an investigation into potentially illegal activities relating to the financing of aircraft sales at Airbus Group.

Parquet National Financier (PNF), a judicial unit which was established in 2013 to investigate fraud, will run the inquiry in parallel to ongoing investigations by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

“Although the investigation by the French authorities was recently announced, it relates to the same subject as the investigation by the UK SFO,” a spokesperson for Airbus tells GTR.

“The French and English authorities will act in coordination going forward. We are in the early stages of communication with both, and it is too early to predict the outcome of these communications.”

The SFO launched its investigation last August, following a notification by Airbus itself, regarding inaccuracies relating to third-party consultants in its applications for export credit financing for its customers.

The notification led to a freeze on export financing from the UK, France and Germany, where the aircraft manufacturer has facilities and therefore had access to support from all three governments.

Earlier this year, a four-year investigation by the SFO into multinational manufacturer Rolls-Royce saw it admitting to multi-million pound bribes to secure export orders across the world.

The admittance will see Rolls-Royce pay penalties of £497.25mn plus interest, as well as reimbursing the SFO’s costs of around £13mn, in what is its largest investigation to date.