Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - AirAsia denies allegations it acted improperly in Airbus aircraft case

AirAsia denies allegations it acted improperly in Airbus aircraft case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
AirAsia Airbus A320 departing Kuala Lumpur International Airport. AFP

AirAsia denies allegations it acted improperly in Airbus aircraft case

AirAsia said it was neither involved in any way with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) investigation of Airbus, nor was it given any opportunity to provide any information or clarification to the SFO.

AirAsia Bhd has rejected allegations that it acted improperly when it bought aircraft from Europe’s Airbus several years ago.

In a statement on its website yesterday, AirAsia said it was neither involved in any way with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) investigation of Airbus, nor was it given any opportunity to provide any information or clarification to the SFO.

AirAsia was responding to media reports on the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into by Airbus SE and the UK SFO on Jan 31.

Reports noted that legal documents attached to the settlement revealed instances of bribery, including Airbus paying and offering millions to sponsor a sports team linked to two unnamed executives described as “key decision makers” at AirAsia and AirAsiaX.

The reports also said the airlines ordered 180 aircraft from Airbus, with the executives described as being “rewarded in respect of the aircraft order” which the document said was “secured by way of improper payments”.

According to a Reuters report yesterday quoting prosecutors, Airbus bribed public officials and hid the payments as part of a pattern of worldwide corruption “as the European plane maker agreed a record US$4bil (RM16.4bil) settlement with France, Britain and the United States”.

The report said the disclosures were made public after a nearly four-year investigation “spanning sales to more than a dozen overseas markets, came as courts on both sides of the Atlantic formally approved settlements that lift a legal cloud that has hung over Europe’s largest aerospace group for years”.

“The articles referenced above allege that certain agreements by AirAsia to order Airbus aircraft were improperly linked to sponsorship by Airbus of a sports team jointly owned by AirAsia executives. AirAsia vigorously rejects and denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing, ” said AirAsia.

“The entering into of each aircraft purchase agreement was never made by any single individual decision, but instead arrived at through careful evaluation, deliberation and the collective decision of the board members after taking into account technical specifications, aircraft flight performance and operating economics.

“The superiority and reliability of the aircraft and increasingly attractive pricing being offered to maintain our competitive edge in the airline business were key considerations. As a customer of Airbus since 2005, AirAsia never made purchase decisions that were premised on an Airbus sponsorship.

“We also wish to emphasise that all negotiations and dealings leading to the signing of any aircraft purchase agreement have been undertaken directly with Airbus on an arm’s length basis, and without the involvement of any third parties or intermediaries. In any event, AirAsia is aware that correspondence between the company and Airbus dating back more than a decade has been reported in the press without proper context or review, and we are concerned that views and opinions on the matter may have been formed unfairly and prematurely.

“AirAsia is monitoring developments in this matter and will review any allegations or negative inferences concerning or affecting AirAsia and/or any of its executives and will fully cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the relevant authorities where required, ” the AirAsia statement added.

On its part, MACC confirmed it has initiated investigations into the allegations, with its chief commissioner Latheefa Koya saying the commission is in touch with UK authorities.

Latheefa added the MACC Act empowers it to investigate any act of corruption committed by any Malaysian citizen or permanent resident, even outside Malaysia.

THE STAR (MALAYSIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last