AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes and the airline’s chairman, Kamarudin Meranun, have stepped aside from their positions in the wake of allegations they participated in corrupt deals that involved Airbus and that the airline was paid a bribe of US$50 million to order planes from Airbus.
Airbus has already agreed to pay nearly US$4 billion in penalties in the US, France, and the UK over the bribery and corruption probe, with some analysts saying the Airbus agreement with prosecutors in those jurisdictions is the end of Act One of the corruption scandals and Act Two is now starting in which airlines that were part of the scheme will see their ties to Airbus tested.
Fernandes and Meranun, through AirAsia, issued a statement Monday (3 February), in which the two said “we categorically deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct on our part as directors of AirAsia. We would not harm the very companies that we spent our entire lives building up to their present global status.
So as to facilitate a full and independent investigation by AirAsia, we are relinquishing our executive roles with immediate effect for a period of two months, or such other period that the companies may deem fit.”