Berlin (AFP) - European aviation and aeronautics giant Airbus said Thursday it would file a criminal complaint against persons unknown following German media reports it had become a target of US industrial espionage.
"We are aware that as a large company in the sector, we are a target and subject of espionage," the company said in a statement to AFP. "However, in this case we are alarmed because there is concrete suspicion of industrial espionage."
Following the recent media reports, on which the company said it did not want to speculate, "we have asked the German government for information," said the German-language statement.
"We will now file a criminal complaint against persons unknown on suspicion of industrial espionage."
Germany's Bild daily said Monday, citing intelligence agency documents, that US spy agencies had targeted Airbus and Eurocopter, now called Airbus Helicopters, as well as other companies for years, and that the German government had known about it since 2008.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied or sought to spy on businesses in Europe via the German BND foreign intelligence agency's monitoring station at Bad Aibling in southern Bavaria state, the mass circulation newspaper said.
The Bild report, and other news reports of such alleged intelligence cooperation, have been embarrassing for the German government which has always portrayed itself as a victim of spying by its allies, notably the United States.
On Thursday the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, citing a source with knowledge of BND procedures, said the BND had also engaged in "political espionage" when it helped the NSA snoop on "top officials at the French foreign ministry, the Elysee Palace and European Commission".