AirAsia seeks to distance itself from Rolls-Royce bribery scandal

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KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia and AirAsia X have sought to distance themselves from allegations its directors had asked for favours from engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

Flight Global reported that in a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange, AirAsia X said it had “long established good and open business dealings with Rolls-Royce”.

“AirAsia X, its directors and officers have never sought personal favours or gratification from Rolls-Royce other than to negotiate for the best possible commercial and financial terms for the benefit of the company,” it added.

In a separate stock exchange statement, AirAsia declared that it “had no dealings or transactions with Rolls-Royce”.

It also clarified its relationship with the Global Express noted in the statement from the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Flight Global reported.

An inquiry by the SFO resulted in Rolls-Royce admitting it had paid more than US$35 million in bribes in order to win contracts.

It was reported that Rolls-Royce employees had bribed an AirAsia executive with a US$3.2 million (RM14.2 million) discount for the maintenance of a private jet owned by Tune Group.

Other airlines implicated in the investigation into Rolls-Royce include Thai Airways and Garuda Indonesia.

In a Statement of Facts released by the SFO, it alleged that an unnamed “AirAsia group executive” had sought credit for engine services on a privately-owned Bombardier Global Express business jet.

According to the report, Rolls-Royce struggled with the issue over two years and finally gave a US$3.2 million credit.

Flight Global reported AirAsia as saying the jet in question was owned by Caterhamjet Global.

Under its agreement with the jet’s owner, AirAsia made an annual contribution of US$3 million for its upkeep, which was used by its executives.

In June 2016, AirAsia entered into an agreement to buy the aircraft, but says that completion of that deal is still pending.

Flight Global reported both carriers as saying they had secured all required approvals for their dealings with the Global Express from shareholders and their audit committees.