AirAsia Group Berhad’s Tony Fernandes denied a now-defunct Formula 1 racing team

AirAsia Group Berhad’s Tony Fernandes on Tuesday denied a now-defunct Formula 1 racing team formerly co-owned by him had any links to a bribery scandal involving the Malaysian airline’s only plane supplier, Airbus SE.
Fernandes, one among the aviation industry’s best-known faces, on Monday stepped aside as chief executive of Asia’s biggest budget airline for a minimum of two months, as authorities investigate allegations that Airbus paid a bribe of $50 million through sponsorship of the Caterham F1 team to win orders from AirAsia.

AirAsia Chairman Kamarudin Meranun also stepped down along side Fernandes, though both will remain advisers.

The AirAsia co-founders, who bought Caterham in 2011, issued a joint statement on Tuesday reiterating that they did nothing wrong.

“Caterham F1, the corporate imagined to are 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,” Fernandes and Kamarudin said within the statement.”

Throughout the amount we were shareholders in Caterham, the corporate made no profit and was eventually disposed of for 1 British pound in 2014.

From start to end , this was a branding exercise and not a venture to form profit.”The allegations by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office on Friday concerned a 2012 sponsorship agreement between the now-defunct racing team and Airbus’ then-parent, EADS. AirAsia runs an all-Airbus fleet of 274 planes.

It is the world’s largest customer of the A321neo single-aisle aircraft. Shares of AirAsia fell 5% because the stock exchange opened in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

Those of long-haul subsidiary AirAsia X Bhd lost 8%.Malaysia’s MIDF Research downgraded its recommendation on AirAsia stock to “neutral” from “buy” on Tuesday whereas AmInvestment Bank maintained its “sell” rating.


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