Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group and Caterham F-1 team has been forced to stand down as the Airbus bribery scandal sweeps through Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
Airbus agreed to pay €3.5 billion in fines to the U.K. and E.U. for widespread bribery in securing new orders for aircraft overseas before 2010.
Such bribery wasn’t unusual anywhere in the world but laws changed and tightened and made a system of accepted if immoral practice, completely unacceptable and criminal.
Both Malaysian and Sri Lankan authorities have long claimed that decisions around aircraft purchases in two highly politicised airlines had been a problem.
Now investigations are under way in Malaysia and Fernandez- who hasn’t been charged with any crime, is seen to be at the top of the pyramid. As a result he’s been forced to stand down as CEO.
The complexities of the issue have now spread to India where the Tata-Singapore Airlines bid for Air India is potentially affected by the subsidiary involvement of AirAsia India.
The settlement with the E.U. and U.K. from Airbus, bring the legal matter to an end – it’s seen the demise of a number of senior Airbus executives over the years.
However it’s now starting to have ramifications around the world as once in-power politicians find themselves exposed by the public revelations, that they asked for bribes to permit orders to be placed.
Corruption and bribery in Africa and the Middle and Far East has never gone away, it’s not even that those making the accusations against bribe takers are innocent themselves, all too often they just happen to be in a position to prosecute.