ED May File a Money Laundering Case Against AirAsia

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is seeking to register a money laundering case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the aviation company AirAsia Group’s CEO, Tony Fernandes and others for allegedly using bribery in an attempt to influence the rules by which its joint venture, AirAsia India Ltd. (AAIL), receives a license to operate international flights.  Fernandes has also been accused of violating FDI norms regarding management through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance in 2013.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a criminal case that names “unknown public servants” of the Civil Aviation Ministry including R. Venkataramanan, Director of AirAsia India, and T. Kanagalingam alias Bo Lingam, Deputy CEO of AirAsia Group.  The CBI states that it received information that AirAsia India was indirectly owned and operated by AirAsia Berhad which violated the norms.

Both AirAsia and Venkataramanan have denied the charges and will be discussing everything in court.  Venkataramanan claims that the charges were only filed because of the Tata Trusts, which Venkataramanan is a managing trustee, and that the accusations against him were only made as an offshoot of the allegations made by former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry and the Shapoor Pallonji Group against the trustees of Tata Trusts.


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