Mahinda’s airline deals with bribe-paying company


Officials of a subsidiary of a German company — Lufthansa Technik — that is undertaking an engine overhaul of Mihin Lanka aircraft is facing charges in the United States for “scheming to bribe government officials in Latin America.”�A US Justice Department report said, “The Justice Department revealed late Friday that two of those executives had pleaded guilty in January, while the other two defendants were believed by the Justice Department to be abroad.

All four men worked for Oklahoma-based BizJet International Sales and Support Inc. Bizjet, which outfits luxury jets, agreed to pay an $11.8 million criminal penalty last year for its role in the bribery scheme. Prosecutors agreed not to prosecute Bizjet’s parent company, Lufthansa Technik AG, the maintenance and repair branch of the German Lufthansa Group, citing the company’s cooperation with the investigation.

“Lufthansa is fully aware of these events and we fully cooperated with the authorities on every aspect of the investigation,” a Lufthansa spokesman said in an e-mail. “In addition, the company has instituted numerous processes to promote compliance with all laws and help prevent any such occurrences in the future.”

“In court papers filed in federal court in Oklahoma, prosecutors alleged the executives paid bribes directly to officials in Mexico, Panama and Brazil to secure contracts. In one instance, one of the executives wrote in an e-mail he would pay a Panamanian official $10,000 and provide him with a cellphone for the official’s instrumental assistance in securing the contract’ with the Panama Aviation authority, according to court documents. The defendants also allegedly funneled bribes to officials through a shell company operated under the pretence of providing aircraft maintenance brokerage services.”

The overhaul deal with Mihin Lanka involves US$ 1,821,755.