Sunday, 22 January 2017

AirAsia mentioned in Rolls-Royce bribery case

Article from Malaysiakini (partially behind paywall), some snippets:

UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has named AirAsia Group as one of several foreign parties involved in bribery cases with jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce PLC.

AirAsia Group, in an immediate response, told Malaysiakini that it had complied with procedures in its dealing with Rolls-Royce.

According to the Statement of Facts filed with the Crown Court at Southwark, Rolls-Royce failed to prevent its employees from providing an AirAsia Group executive with credits worth US$3.2 million (RM14.2 million) for the maintenance of a private jet.

This was despite Rolls-Royce employees believing that the credits would lead the AirAsia Group executive to perform his function "improperly".

"This financial advantage was given at the request of the AirAsia group executive, in return for showing favour towards Rolls-Royce in the purchase of products and services provided by Rolls-Royce and its subsidiaries, including Total Care Agreement services to be supplied to AirAsia X, a subsidiary of AirAsia Group," it said.

It also alleged that there was an attempt to conceal the fact that the credits, given to AirAsia X in 2013, would be used for the private jet, which was unrelated to the AirAsia Group.

On Oct 17, 2012, a Rolls-Royce employee reported to the Rolls-Royce senior employee that the AirAsia Group executive was seeking to "make the corporate jet deal 'invisible' with its 'value covered within additional A330 Total Care Agreement charges" for AirAsia X".

On March 15, 2013, a Rolls-Royce employee reported to his senior that the AirAsia X senior employee, who had been negotiating for the Air Asia Group executive's private jet, wanted a "cash settlement that is off the record and not visible to the AirAsia X group".

The Rolls-Royce employee raised concern that it was "unethical and likely illegal" and would rather not handle the case.

The Rolls-Royce employee complained that the AirAsia X senior employee had avoided discussing the private jet in front of other AirAsia X or Rolls-Royce employees and refused to communicate via email about the matter unless it was verbally or on Blackberry Messenger, a secured chat application.

In an interview during the SFO's investigation, the Rolls-Royce employee said the AirAsia X senior employee went as far as suggesting that the Corporate Care entry fee for the private jet be secretly spread across other AirAsia X payments to Rolls-Royce.

"Rolls-Royce employees believe the relevance of the jet to the issuing of those credits was most likely to be concealed from AirAsia X executives by the AirAsia X senior employee.

The above sounds very worrisome and requires an official, much more detailed answer from AirAsia than given.

I have written before about the huge amount of RPTs between the different companies in the AirAsia group and also the privately owned companies. This gives rise to numerous conflict of interest situations.

If the holding company was listed, with all subsidiaries (like AirAsia, AirAsia X and the subsidiary owning the private airplane) 100% owned, then many problems (like the above mentioning in the Rolls-Royce bribery case) would not have existed in the first place.


  1. Hi Mr Wind,

    Yes, if Caterham (owner of private aircraft) belong to AirAsia and/or AAX, or transferring of credit happened after Caterham bought over by AirAsia in 2016, then there is no wrong doing. Unfortunately the chronological sequence show the otherwise. Unless they could show prior agreement saying AAX or AirAsia is binded to pay for all costs and all payments to Caterham is in reimbursement basic, TF & KM is definitely conducted this wrong doing.

  2. Malaysia's dodgiest company strikes again?