PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is still waiting for information from the British authorities before pursuing its probe into bribery allegations against AirAsia and AirAsia X by aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
MACC chief Latheefa Koya said there has been no response yet to a request for information from Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which investigated Airbus’ use of middlemen to secure plane deals.
“We won’t know if we have to call them or wait for the information,” Latheefa told reporters when asked if AirAsia Group Bhd co-founders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun will be called in for questioning.
“We have contacted the UK authorities and they have yet to get back to us,” she said after opening the Apec 2020 Symposium on Gender Mainstreaming and Women Empowerment to Fight Corruption here today.
Asked if there is a timeframe to obtain documents from the SFO, she said it is an international request.
“They are not just receiving one request, probably multiple, dozens or hundreds of inquiries. They may have their own priorities,” she said.
Two “executives” at AirAsia and AirAsia X were mentioned in legal documents listing instances of bribery by Airbus to secure contracts through corrupt middlemen to sell its aircraft worldwide.
Britain’s The Telegraph said the documents were part of a multi-billion dollar settlement reached with anti-corruption authorities in Britain, France and the United States, after Airbus admitted to “endemic levels of bribery across its international business”.
It said Airbus was alleged to have paid the two unnamed “executives” – dubbed “key decision-makers” at AirAsia – some US$50 million and also sponsored an F1 racing team in exchange for purchasing Airbus aircraft.
AirAsia denied any wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with authorities probing the allegations. In the meantime, Fernandes and Kamarudin have stepped down from their roles to facilitate any investigation.
Probe into audio tapes to be wrapped up ‘in a week or two’
Latheefa said MACC is expected to complete its investigation into nine audio recordings, believed to involve Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad, a prominent foreigner and several others, in a “week or two”.
She said MACC is carrying out its investigation under Section 23 of the MACC Act for abuse of power.
“We will check with the police as well. We will then hand the outcome of the investigation to the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” she said.
MACC had released the audio recordings on Jan 8.