Budget carrier Air Asia has come under the scanner following bribery allegations that the companyâ€™s executives received favours from Airbus for placing orders on the aircraft manufacturer. Malaysian regulator, The Securities Commission of Malaysia has put out a statement that they will conduct an investigation on the allegation. The charge has emanated from prosecutors in the UK where Airbus has reached a settlement with France, Britain and US on similar bribery charges and agreed to pay $4 billion.
The prosecutors in the UK have accused Airbus of having indulged in corruption worldwide in order to secure orders for its aircraft.
Specific to Air Asia, the allegation is that EADS, which is the parent company that owns Airbus, paid $50 million as sponsorship amount to a sports team that was owned by two of Air Asiaâ€™s executives. Their names havenâ€™t been disclosed, except by the suffix 1 and 2. They are said to have been the joint owners of the team.
Air Asia has denied that it has received kickbacks of any kind for the purchase of aircraft from Airbus.
The investigation by the Malaysian authorities can even result in jail sentences to the top executives of the company, if found guilty. They may escape with fines as well. There are going to be two parallel investigations. One will be the company level bribery allegation by the Securities Commission and the other an anti-graft investigation by the appropriate authorities.