Bombardier’s aircraft maintenance facility in Singapore. The Canadian aircraft maker said it had met the SFO to discuss assisting with its investigation © Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier is under investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office for suspected bribery and corruption over a deal to sell aircraft to Indonesia’s national airline nearly a decade ago.

The probe concerns Bombardier’s sale of CRJ1000 aircraft to Garuda, which was one of the deals that led to the conviction of the company’s former chief executive Emirsyah Satar for corruption. 

The ex-Citi banker was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption and money laundering after receiving bribes from groups including Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Bombardier through businessman Soetikno Soedarjo.

Mr Satar was also fined Rp1bn ($70,000) by Indonesia’s corruption court, while Mr Soedarjo received a six-year sentence and a Rp1bn fine. 

The SFO said on Thursday: “The SFO confirms it is investigating Bombardier Inc over suspected bribery and corruption in relation to contracts and / or orders from Garuda Indonesia.”

Indonesia’s anti-graft agency began investigating Garuda in the fallout from the SFO’s investigations into Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

Several charges in Rolls-Royce’s £671m plea deal with regulators in the US, UK and Brazil in 2017 related to the procurement of engines for Garuda.

The SFO said a middleman was paid several million pounds and a Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce car to help seal the deal. 

Bribes paid by Airbus to Garuda to secure business also formed one of the counts against the European aircraft maker in its record €3.6bn deal in January to settle a “massive” bribery scheme with regulators in the US, UK and France. 

In a financial update on Thursday, Bombardier said one of the deals that resulted in Mr Satar’s conviction involved Garuda’s purchase and lease of Bombardier CRJ1000 jets in 2011-12.

It said: “No charges were laid against the corporation or any of its directors, officers or employees. Shortly thereafter, the corporation launched an internal review into the Garuda transactions, which is being conducted by external counsel.”

The company said the SFO had opened an investigation into the same transactions, adding it had met the agency to discuss assisting with its investigation.

In a statement in May, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said: “Emirsyah Satar was convicted to have received bribe payments and facilities from Soetikno Soedarjo for their support in securing contracts for Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Avions de Transport Regional and Bombardier.”

A statement of facts accompanying Airbus’ plea deal in January revealed a company business partner had paid some $3.3m in bribes to certain senior employees at Garuda and its low-cost subsidiary PT Citilink Indonesia or their family members in order to win business from the group. 

Additional reporting by Michael Pooler

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