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AirAsia denies role in Rolls-Royce corruption scandal

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia-based AirAsia on Monday denied any connection to the corruption scandal engulfing Rolls-Royce, which reportedly paid millions of dollars in bribes to win contracts.

After its largest ever graft probe, Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) found Rolls-Royce paid massive bribes over three decades to win contracts in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia.

The SFO alleges that Rolls-Royce bribed an AirAsia Group executive with credits worth US$3.2 million to be used to pay for the maintenance of a private jet.

The SFO added that "this financial advantage" was given to the executive "in return for his showing favour towards Rolls-Royce in the purchase of products and services".

AirAsia, which is the region's biggest budget carrier by fleet size, said it had done nothing wrong in purchasing the Bombardier Global Express private jet and that it had "gone through the due process and obtained the necessary approval".

"We wish to state that at all material times, AirAsia has had no dealings or transactions with Rolls-Royce..." AirAsia said in a statement.

Earlier in January, Indonesia's anti-corruption agency named the former CEO of the country's flag carrier Garuda a suspect for allegedly receiving bribes from Rolls-Royce while he was head of the airline.

In Thailand investigators found some US$36 million in bribes and incentives were paid between 1991 and 2005 to intermediaries - including "agents of the State of Thailand and employees of Thai Airways" - to help the company win lucrative jet engine deals.

Rolls-Royce last week agreed to pay a US$808 million fine to authorities in Britain, the United States and Brazil to settle bribery and corruption claims.


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