AirAsia Group reinstated Kamarudin Meranun and Tony Fernandes to their previously vacated positions on 20 March, after the low-cost carrier and its long-haul sister AirAsia X completed an independent probe into Airbus bribery allegations.
The was conducted following an investigation into Airbus over corruption allegations. UK court documents list five counts of failing to prevent bribery, including one linked to AirAsia.
Through similarly worded disclosures on Bursa Malaysia, the airlines state that based on a finding by BDO Governance Advisory, the sponsorship of a sports team was “in compliance with its procedures”, and both airlines’ boards had backed Airbus’s sponsorship of the sports team in question.
“The sponsorship showed demonstrable benefits to the AirAsia Group and was not linked to any purchase decisions by the company,” says AirAsia X.
It goes on to note that both Fernandes and Meranun had properly disclosed their interests to the two AirAsia boards and abstained from the discussions and decision-making process related to the sponsorship.
The probe findings also note that the two low-cost operators have “a robust aircraft procurement process”, and that the “aircraft acquisition was justifiable and at prices favourable” to them.
Court documents released after the UK Serious Fraud Office probe into Airbus detail allegations that two AirAsia executives – both “key decision makers” at AirAsia and long-haul operator AirAsia X – were “rewarded”, through a sports sponsorship, in respect of an order for 180 aircraft.
The two executives were not identified in the court documents.
To facilitate the independent probe, Meranun and Fernandes both stepped down from their respective positions as AirAsia Group’s chairman and chief executive in February. The two men also hold directorships at AirAsia X.
Bo Lingam, the group’s president for airlines, was named acting group chief executive during the period the probe took place.