Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Venkataramanan appears before ED in AirAsia probe

New Delhi: AirAsia India’s former director R Venkataramanan on Monday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate that is probing an allegation of money laundering against the airline’s part owner, Malaysia-based AirAsia Bhd, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Venkataramanan was the Tata Sons nominee on the board of AirAsia India, a joint venture between the Indian conglomerate and AirAsia Bhd. He stepped down as the managing trustee of the Tata Trusts in March last year and later exited AirAsia India.
Meanwhile, AirAsia Bhd’s former CEO Tony Fernandes, who was issued summons twice by the ED, hasn’t yet joined the probe. He was last asked to appear before the agency on February 5. AirAsia’s former deputy group CEO Tharumalingam Kanagalingam, who was called on February 3, also did not turn up.
AirAsia declined to comment. Fernandes could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.

ED sources said fresh summons would be issued to Fernandes and other top executives linked to AirAsia Bhd. Fernandes last week temporarily stepped down from his position at the Malaysian airline pending a probe into allegations that Airbus paid him and another executive a bribe of $50 million to secure aircraft orders.
Fernandes, Venkataramanan and others are also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of criminal conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI registered a first information report in May 2018 after the ED filed the money-laundering case.
11/02/20 Raghav Ohri/Economic Times
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