Noel Forgeard (photo), former head of Airbus owner EADS, has been placed under formal investigation by French judges, for insider trading.
On Wednesday, he was detained and questioned for 35 hours by police, over his sale of EADS shares in March 2006, before they slumped by 26% that June, after Airbus made public serious delays in its flagship A380 programme.
Noel Forgeard, 61, is among 17 executives and shareholders facing allegations of selling company stock.
The investigation aims at knowing if Noel Forgeard was aware of those delays before selling.
Earlier on Friday morning, his lawyer, Jean-Alain Michel, said that the former EADS chief was freed from police custody on condition that he pay a sum yet to be specified, pending further investigation.
“Mr Forgeard has effectively been charged by the two magistrates after a very long discussion on insider trading” he added.
Even though last month the firm’s current chief executive, Louis Gallois (photo, from arf.asso.fr), sent a letter to staff, speaking of his “confidence in EADS managers in total”, he still hasn’t commented the recent events yet.
Last month, evidence of insider trading and market abuse at EADS have been uncovered by France’s stock market regulator, which referred the case to Paris prosecutors.
After the 18-month investigation, the findings made public did not name any individuals.
At the time, EADS said that it would “exercise vigorously” its right to defend itself.
“EADS will support its managers in their defence, it intends to demonstrate that it has applied standards of excellence when communicating to the market and has acted with full transparency” said the consortium in a statement in April.
In April, France‘s financial market regulator, the AMF, said it had found evidence of possible insider trading by EADS executives, also including Thomas Enders, a former co-chief executive and current chief executive of Airbus.