File photo of an AirAsia aircraft.

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of AirAsia Group Bhd (AAGB) and its sister company AirAsia X Bhd appreciated in active trading yesterday following recent downtrend amid news report which alleged the low-cost airline took $50 million bribes from aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The upswing in their share prices also came after the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) reportedly sold 7.92 million shares in AAGB.

According to two separate filings on Bursa Malaysia, the retirement fund disposed 7.43 million of AAGB shares on Jan 28 and followed it up with another disposal of 492,500 worth of shares on the next day.

The EPF continues to hold 210.4 million shares, representing a 6.29 per cent stake in the company following the disposals.

At 5 pm, AAGB share price closed one sen higher to RM1.16 with 192.53 million shares changed hands, while AirAsia X increased half-a-sen to 12.0 sen with 33.87 million shares transacted.

Meanwhile, AirAsia has denied the allegations.

In a statement yesterday, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes claimed that AirAsia was never reached out for any explanation or clarification by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) during their four-year investigation on the Airbus scandal.

According to them, it was a clear violation of the fundamental legal principle of fairness and access to justice.

“We categorically deny all allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct on our part as executives and directors of AirAsia,” they said. 

On Monday, both executives relinquished their executive positions within the group, effective immediately, following the Airbus SE bribery probe by the Malaysian authorities. 

Meanwhile, the Minority Shareholders Watch Group (MSWG) chief executive officer Devanesan Evanson reportedly has urged Kamaruddin and Fernandes to step down from the low-cost carrier’s board pending investigations.

Devanesan said as the situation could create a general sense of unease and tenseness at the board level as they are still board members. – Bernama