LETTER | We refer to the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into by Airbus SE and the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Jan 31, 2020.
In return for a suspension of prosecution by the SFO, Airbus has agreed to pay a significant fine and costs to the SFO and also agreed to a statement of facts that appears to implicate executives of AirAsia.
The investigation by the SFO which reportedly took four years did not even once reach out to us (nor AirAsia, as stated in their press release of Feb 1, 2020) for any explanation or clarification. This is a clear violation of the fundamental legal principle of fairness and access to justice.
We categorically deny all allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct on our part as executives and directors of AirAsia. Caterham F1, the company alleged to have been sponsored improperly by Airbus was at the relevant time a Formula 1 Racing team that had gone around the globe promoting amongst others AirAsia, AirAsia X, GE and Airbus.
Throughout the period we were shareholders in Caterham, the company made no profits and was eventually disposed of for one pound sterling in 2014. From start to finish this was a branding exercise and not a venture to make profits.
So as to facilitate a full and independent inquiry by AirAsia, we are relinquishing our executive roles with immediate effect for an initial period of two months which may be extended at the discretion of the AirAsia board as they deem fit based on the prevailing circumstances then.
At the request of the board of AirAsia, we have agreed to continue to assist AirAsia in an advisory capacity as and when required.
Finally, we welcome any investigation by the authorities as that is the only way we will receive the fairness and access to justice denied us by the SFO process to date. We will extend our fullest cooperation to them.
The writers are chairperson and CEO of AirAsia respectively.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.