Viva Air will have to face a complaint for alleged fraud.
In response to the complaint prepared by the Ministry of Transportation before the Attorney General’s Office against Viva Air for alleged fraud, the low-cost airline would allege to the Colombian authorities that the suspension of its operations, which occurred on February 27, It was temporary and not permanent.
This would be one of the most viable alternatives to face this judicial process that the company would have, according to Diego Márquez Arango, director of MQA Abogados, told the newspaper La República. This would imply that the airline should remain in the market even if its integration with Avianca is approved.
“If it is temporary, it is because the company wants to keep executing its corporate purpose. If the integration is approved, what will happen is that Avianca will want to keep Viva in the market,” the lawyer told the aforementioned medium.
In any case, Felipe Cuberos, the company’s attorney, stated in a meeting with creditors that took place on Tuesday, March 14, that the closure of operations is temporary and that, in addition, the entry of more creditors.
It should be remembered that Viva Air’s liabilities, certified by the tax auditor Kpmg, amount to $4.07 trillion pesos. However, according to the newspaper La República, the company only incorporated 20 creditors into its recovery process for a total of $738.2 billion, that is, 18.1% of its total debt, leaving out $3.3 trillion of pesos.
Meanwhile, Minister Guillermo Reyes pointed out to CM& that they are compiling all the evidence and information they have about the possible scam of the ‘low cost’ airline so that, from that portfolio of the national government, they can formally present the complaint to the competent authorities.
“We are verifying the possibility that Viva (Air) has incurred in a possible criminal type of fraud close to 200 billion. We are verifying the issues, and this week we would announce very tough decisions to the country on this issue,” the official said.
The complaint, according to Reyes, would be made to guarantee the rights of the workers who were left adrift after the airline’s administrative decisions. In addition, for alleged violations of the legal system.
“Here not only the person is respected, the law and the constitution and the rules that govern air transport are respected,” Reyes told the Channel One newscast. He noted that among the different complaints and denunciations they have received, there is of the travel agencies that reported debts totaling 30 billion pesos for tickets sold by Viva Air, but have not received any response to remedy that debt.
This week, according to the head of the Transport portfolio, the decision of the Civil Aeronautics regarding the integration between Avianca and Viva Air, which has been delayed and to which the airline attributes its debacle, will also be known. Likewise, the deadline for formulating the normalization plans required by the Superintendency of Transportation after taking the measure of control over the company has expired. If there is no response, agents will be appointed to lead the process.
The low cost airline has been experiencing an economic crisis since the pandemic, and despite having recovered during 2021, factors such as the rise in the dollar and the war in Ukraine, which made fuel prices more expensive, aggravated its economic problems. For this reason, it had targeted its merger with Avianca so as not to disappear.
However, the Civil Aeronautics did not allow this measure, citing a violation of free competition, since between them they would monopolize 60% of the market, and assured that the airline could have sought other solutions, such as loans or the search for investment to guarantee the continuity of its operation.
Despite this, both Avianca and Viva have indicated that the low-cost airline crisis could not be resolved because Aeronautics has not allowed the merger.
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