IATA members hit with $17 million fraud tab

Airlines belonging to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) are furious over the uncovering of an alleged fraud committed by an employee of IATA in Bangkok involving nearly 550 million baht (US$17 million), with some considering taking legal action againsttheir association. The sum was defrauded from payments from travel agents in Thailand from January 2005 […]


Airlines belonging to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) are furious over the uncovering of an alleged fraud committed by an employee of IATA in Bangkok involving nearly 550 million baht (US$17 million), with some considering taking legal action againsttheir association.

The sum was defrauded from payments from travel agents in Thailand from January 2005 to August 2009 before the money could reach IATA’s international clearing house in Bangkok that is responsible for collecting payments for tickets from travel agents.

The fraud was covered up through counterfeiting bank statements, falsifying bank account reconciliation and destroying transaction records, says IATA.

An investigation was launched into the matter in August 2009, but in a bizarre twist the unnamed employee was found dead by police shortly there after. The employee’s death is still being investigated by Thai police, says IATA.

The topic marred IATA’s annual meeting held in Berlin last month as relations between IATA and its members have been soured by the incident, a representative from an Asian carrier who wished not to be identified, told Payload Asia. IATA has informed the nearly 84 affected carriers that they are contractually bound to cover the losses resulting from this fraud.