AirAsia suspected of being involved in Airbus bribery deals

No sooner had Airbus admitted to bribing public officials and making hidden payments involving the U.K., USA and France, than U.K prosecutors have now accused executives of AirAsia Group and AirAsiaX of receiving bribes from Airbus to secure plane sales.

According to Reuters News Agency, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) revealed last Friday that between October 2013 and January 2015, Airbus’ then-parent business EADS paid US$50 million to sponsor a sports team that was jointly owned by two people described as AirAsia Executive 1 and Executive 2. The SFO said the executives were rewarded for an aircraft order from Airbus, an allegation AirAsia denied late on Saturday.

“The Securities Commission Malaysia will examine the allegations and review all available evidence to determine if there is any breach of securities laws,” Syed Zaid Albar, the regulator’s chairman, said in a statement. Directors who act with the intent to cause wrongful loss to their listed firms can face jail or fines, he added. The anti-corruption agency in Malaysia has already launched a separate investigation into the allegations.

However, on Saturday, AirAsia said in a statement that it had not been involved with the SFO’s investigation of Airbus or given any opportunity to provide clarification. It denied any wrongdoing.

AirAsia, Asia’s largest low-cost airline group, currently runs an all-Airbus fleet of 97 planes, excluding any subsidiary carriers. It also has a further 362 Airbus aircraft on order comprising 351 A321neos and 11 A320 neos.

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