Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling

Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling
PT Garuda Indonesia’s CEO Ari Askhara has been accused of smuggling a Harley Davidson motorbike into the country, and now faces dismissal. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2019

Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling

Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling
  • Garuda is the flagship air carrier of Indonesia

JAKARTA: PT Garuda Indonesia is suspending directors linked to the alleged smuggling of a Harley Davidson motorbike by its chief executive, the company's chief commissioner said on Saturday.

Indonesia's State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir on Thursday said he would fire CEO Ari Askhara for allegedly trying to evade tax by bringing into the country a Harley Davidson motorbike onboard a new plane from France.

Askhara has been suspended pending a shareholders’ meeting due in the coming weeks to determine his fate.

Thohir said the smuggling also involved at least one other Garuda employee based in Europe, who helped transfer the payment and assisted in the delivery of the motorbike. He said the investigation would continue to ascertain whether more employees were involved.

Sahala Lumban Gaol, chief commissioner of Garuda, said in a televised press conference on Saturday that members of the board of directors who were “indicated to have been involved directly or indirectly” in the incident had been suspended.

He declined to disclose names, or say how many were affected.

Askhara has not responded publicly to the accusations. Reuters made repeated attempts to contact him for comment.

Chief Financial Officer Fuad Rizal has been appointed as acting CEO until a shareholders’ meeting to name a new chief is held, Garuda said in a statement on Friday.

Lumban Gaol said interim directors will be appointed to ensure no disruptions to Garuda’s business operations.

The transportation minister on Friday said the company would be fined for not including the motorbike on the cargo list. The bike was taken apart and packed in separate boxes, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Two expensive undeclared bicycles were also found onboard the plane.