PETALING JAYA: Low-cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd’s independent committee has appointed an independent expert to assist in a review relating to allegations of corruption against its top executives, namely executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and chief executive officer Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, AirAsia said its non-executive independent board committee had appointed BDO Governance Advisory Sdn Bhd to assist the committee in undertaking the review.
On Feb 3, AirAsia and its long-haul arm, AirAsia X Bhd, announced that they had formed a non-executive independent board committee comprising the non-executive board members, with the objective of reviewing the allegations and to take the necessary actions based on the review.
To recap, AirAsia was mentioned in the approved judgment and the statement of facts in relation to Regina v Airbus SE, dated Jan 31,2020. The company, in a previous statement, had denied corruption and bribery allegations against it, saying it was neither involved with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation of Airbus nor given any opportunity to provide any information or clarification to the SFO.
The UK SFO allegations concerned a 2012 US$50mil sponsorship between Caterham Formula 1 racing team, which was previously owned by co-founders Fernandes and Kamarudin.
Both Fernandes and Kamarudin categorically denied all allegations and relinquished all executive roles in AirAsia for two months or a period deemed fit by the low-cost carrier, amid the ongoing probe.
In the interim, AirAsia said Tharumalingam Kanagalingam had been appointed as the low-cost carrier’s chief executive officer.
Nevertheless, in view of the current difficult economic circumstances facing the airline industry, AirAsia said it would retain Fernandes and Kamarudin as advisers during the two month period.
“As advisers, they will not have executive authority within the group, ” it said, adding that both Fernandes and Kamarudin would be redesignated as non-independent, non executive board members of AirAsia.