Two AirAsia chiefs step aside amid Airbus bribery probe

Daniel Fowler
February 4, 2020

The group has also formed a non-executive independent board committee, which comprises non-executive members of the board, to review all allegations linked to executives of the company in Airbus SE's corruption case.

Meanwhile, Fernandes and Kamarudin in a joint statement denied any allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct.

Senior company executive Tharumalingam Kanagalingam will be the acting CEO, with the changes effective immediately.

Throughout the period we were shareholders in Caterham, the company made no profits and was eventually disposed for 1 pound sterling in 2014.

The SFO said on Friday that between October 2013 and January 2015, EADS paid $50 million to sponsor a sports team which was jointly owned by two people described as AirAsia Executive 1 and Executive 2.

The news comes four days after Airbus entered into deferred prosecution agreements with regulators in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France over allegations the plane maker bribed its way into winning orders in many countries.

Both Mr Fernandes and Mr Kamarudin announced late on Monday that they would step aside as authorities investigate allegations that Airbus had paid a bribe of US$50 million (S$68.5 million) to win plane orders from the AirAsia.

AirAsia Group has denied the bribery and corruption allegations against both airlines.

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AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes and chair Kamarudin Meranun will step temporarily step down from their positions at the airline.

AirAsia has said it will fully cooperate with Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Commission, which is working alongside Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to investigate the claims.

The individuals were namely directors and/or employees of AirAsia airlines where the alleged bribery was meant to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus. Shares of AirAsia fell 5% as the stock market opened in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

"This is in clear violation of fundamental legal principles of fairness".

From start to finish this was a branding exercise and not a venture to make profits.

At the request of the Board of AirAsia, we have agreed to continue to assist AirAsia in an advisory capacity as and when required. "I will be firmly behind in making sure we come out stronger from coronavirus", they said in the memo.

Separately, Garuda Indonesia was also named in the judgement, along with Sri Lankan Airlines, Taiwan's TransAsia Airways, as well as the government of Ghana.

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