Garuda Indonesia has long been an airline with lousy management and amazing employees. Here’s the latest example of that, as Garuda Indonesia’s former CEO has been fined and sentenced to jail for smuggling (not to be confused with the former Garuda Indonesia CEO who was fined and sentenced to jail last year for bribery and money laundering).
This is all unrelated to Garuda Indonesia’s current situation, as the Indonesian flag carrier is going through a massive restructuring that could see it shrinking significantly.
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Garuda Indonesia CEO jailed for smuggling
In late 2019 Garuda Indonesia fired its CEO, Ari Askhara, for illegally smuggling a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two Brompton bicycles on an Airbus A330-900neo delivery flight from Toulouse, France. He had been CEO of the airline since 2018.
An investigation had revealed that in 2018 he instructed airline staff to find him a classic motorcycle. The transaction was carried out in April 2019, through a bank transfer to the account of Garuda Indonesia’s finance manager in Amsterdam. Then he finally imported these goods on a delivery flight in November 2019.
The problem is that these goods weren’t declared, as clearly the CEO was trying to dodge import taxes, which would have been tens of thousands of dollars.
There has been an ongoing court case surrounding this, and this week he has been sentenced to one year in jail, plus a fine of three million IDR (which is roughly $21,000). This sentencing was in line with what prosecutors had been seeking.
A previous Garuda Indonesia CEO was also jailed
In 2019, one of Garuda Indonesia’s longest serving CEOs was sentenced to jail and fined. Emirsyah Satar had served as CEO of Garuda Indonesia from 2005 until 2014, and was accused of bribery and money laundering. He had received $3.4 million in payments from third parties related to the procurement of planes and engines — specifically, Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft, and Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
He was sentenced to eight years in jail, and was fined $1.2 million. The court claimed to have taken it easy on him with the sentencing, thanks to his role in “bringing Garuda Indonesia recognition as a prestigious airline in the world.”
In late 2019 Garuda Indonesia’s former CEO was fired for trying to smuggle luxury goods into Indonesia. He has now been fined and sentenced to one year in jail.
It’s kind of sad that he’s the second Garuda Indonesia CEO in just over a year to be headed to jail, with the previous CEO having been sentenced to eight years in jail for bribery and money laundering.
Garuda Indonesia really needs to get better about who is put in charge of the airline, eh?