The founder of easyJet, Sir Stelios Haji-loannou, is offering to pay £5m to a “whistleblower” who provides information leading to the cancellation of a £4.5bn Airbus order.
The billionaire’s efforts are ill-conceived according the easyJet’s representatives, who also say they will only agree to delay the delivery of the new aircraft.
Sir Stelios believes that cancelling the order for 100 new aircraft is vital for ensuring the low-cost carrier survives the coronavirus crisis and claims “the overwhelming evidence is that easyJet requires neither more loss-making planes nor massive liabilities”.
Recent months have seen the airline ground their entire fleet, furlough thousands of staff and borrow £600m from the UK government’s emergency coronavirus fund.
A statement from the founder will ask for information to be emailed to him “in full confidence” and guarantees cover of any informant’s legal bills, plus the £5m payment if termination of the Airbus-easyJet contract is a result of the whistle-blowers leak that proves Airbus secured the orders through bribery techniques.
Sir Stelios, who owns a 34% share in easyJet, has a notable disdain for the company’s directors labelling them “scoundrels”. He is reportedly seeking the removal of its chairman, chief executive, and two other directors later this month.
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