June 3, 2021

SEC takes no action against South American airline holding company

On June 3, 2021, Avianca Holding S.A., a South American cargo and passenger air transport and maintenance company, reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had informed the Company that it had concluded its corruption investigation, and would not recommend an enforcement action against Avianca.  Avianca’s American depository shares (ADSs) were traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) until May 2020, when, in connection with the Company’s bankruptcy, the NYSE applied to the SEC to have the ADSs delisted. 

In 2019, the Company commenced an internal investigation into a practice among senior management and members of the board that entailed giving free and discounted airline tickets to government employees in several countries.  In August of that year, the Company voluntarily disclosed the investigation to the US Department of Justice, the SEC, the Colombian Attorney General’s office, and the Financial Superintendence of Colombia (Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia).  According to Avianca, its policies have since been improved, and additional controls have been implemented to screen gift ticket recipients.

Although the SEC investigation has concluded, the other investigations remain ongoing according to Avianca.  The Company stated that it is cooperating with these investigations.  According to Avianca, the Company also remains the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury with respect to flights the company operated to and from Cuba.

Form 6-K