AirAsia’s Fernandes denies link to bribery scandal after stepping down

AirAsia Team Bhd’s Tony Fernandes on Tuesday denied a now-defunct Formulation one racing team formerly co-owned by him experienced any one-way links to a bribery scandal involving the Malaysian airline’s only airplane supplier, Airbus SE.

Fernandes, just one of the aviation industry’s best-acknowledged faces, on Monday stepped aside as chief govt of Asia’s major funds airline for at least two months, as authorities look into allegations that Airbus paid a bribe of $fifty million by sponsorship of the Caterham F1 team to earn orders from AirAsia.

AirAsia Chairman Kamarudin Meranun also stepped down along with Fernandes, while equally will stay advisers. The AirAsia co-founders, who acquired Caterham in 2011, issued a joint statement on Tuesday reiterating that they did practically nothing completely wrong.

“Caterham F1, the enterprise alleged to have been sponsored improperly by Airbus, was at the related time a Formulation one racing team that experienced absent spherical the world advertising and marketing amongst some others AirAsia, AirAsia X, GE and Airbus,” Fernandes and Kamarudin mentioned in the statement.

“Through the period of time we ended up shareholders in Caterham, the enterprise made no revenue and was ultimately disposed of for one pound sterling in 2014. From get started to complete, this was a branding physical exercise and not a venture to make revenue.” The allegations by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office on Friday concerned a 2012 sponsorship agreement concerning the now-defunct racing team and Airbus’ then-mum or dad, EADS.

AirAsia operates an all-Airbus fleet of 274 planes. It is the world’s major client of the A321neo one-aisle aircraft.

Shares of AirAsia fell 5 per cent as the stock current market opened in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. People of extended-haul subsidiary AirAsia X Bhd dropped 8 per cent.

Malaysia’s MIDF Investigation downgraded its recommendation on AirAsia stock to “neutral” from “obtain” on Tuesday whilst AmInvestment Financial institution managed its “offer” rating.

“We find it hard to argue for a situation that ‘business as usual’ will prevail in the absence of the direct involvement of Fernandes and Kamarudin in the administration and final decision-earning process of the enterprise,” AmInvestment Financial institution mentioned in a customer notice.

“The duo are the founding associates, visionaries and critical strategists for the team. This could not have happened at a even worse time, amidst the Wuhan conoravirus epidemic that is seriously hurting the need for air journey (which is partly offset by plunging price ranges of crude oil, and hence jet gasoline).”