Garuda Indonesia CEO fired for smuggling luxury bike

The chief executive of national flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia (GIAA.JK) will be dismissed on suspicion of smuggling a motorbike into the country on a new plane, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir said.

The chief executive, Ari Askhara, and the airline did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the allegations by Thohir that suggested Askhara tried to evade paying tax on a Harley Davidson motorcycle worth 800 million rupiah.

Thohir told a news conference that the motorbike was brought into Indonesia on an Airbus plane from France. Askhara, who took up his role in September 2018, had ordered a Harley Davidson motorbike last year and bought it in April 2019, he said.

The payment was made through a Garuda finance manager based in Amsterdam, who also assisted in delivery of the motorbike, Thohir said.

“This process was done completely within a state-owned company, not only by an individual,” the minister said.

He did not say when Askhara would be dismissed but added that the ministry would investigate whether other Garuda personnel were involved.

Two high-end bicycles, which Thohir said were not declared to customs and were also found on the jet, were displayed alongside the motorbike at the news conference.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told the news conference the state could lose between 532 million rupiah to 1.5 billion rupiah in tax revenue because of the incident.

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