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EasyJet founder offers £5m reward as he steps up campaign against airline

Christian Fernsby |
EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou is offering £5m for any information that leads to the cancellation of its order for 107 Airbus jets as he steps up his campaign to oust the budget airline’s management.

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Topics: EASYJET   

Mr Haji-Ioannou, whose family owns a third of EasyJet’s shares, has argued for a decade that the airline’s fleet expansion would destroy shareholder value and he has intensified his push for management changes since the coronavirus decimated air travel.

He has ordered a special shareholder vote on May 22 to try to remove the airline’s chief executive, chairman and two other directors. He would need over 50% of the votes to succeed and a number of big investors have said they will back management.

Mr Haji-Ioannou said he was looking for tips or information from EasyJet insiders about any suspicious dealings with Airbus, such as lavish entertainment or unexplained wealth.

The European planemaker agreed in January to pay $4bn in fines after reaching a plea bargain with prosecutors in Britain, France and the US over alleged bribery and corruption stretching back at least 15 years.

EasyJet issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting any suggestion it had acted improperly, as it did on April 27 after Mr Haji-Ioannou called the shareholder vote.

“As we have previously stated, the board firmly rejects any insinuation that easyJet was involved in any impropriety. EasyJet has maintained the highest standards of governance and scrutiny in respect of its aircraft procurement processes,” it said.

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