Serious Fraud Office arrests company boss as it launches probe into jet engine scam

The boss of a firm at the centre of a fake plane parts scandal has been arrested as part of a major criminal fraud probe.

Police arrested Jose Alejandro Zamora Yrala, director of aircraft parts supplier AOG Technics, at his London home yesterday morning.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and National Crime Agency (NCA) launched an investigation into the business after bogus components were found in planes.

The company has been in business since 2015 and supplied parts for CF56, the world’s best-selling passenger aircraft engine. 

But the firm is accused of providing fake authentication certificates, raising concerns over safety.

Dawn raid: Police arrested Jose Alejandro Zamora Yrala, director of aircraft parts supplier AOG Technics, at his London home

SFO director Nick Ephgrave said: ‘This investigation deals with very serious allegations of fraud involving the supply of aircraft parts, the consequences of which are potentially far-reaching.’

He said the SFO would be ‘vigorous’ with its investigation and ‘establish the facts as swiftly as possible’.

Ephgrave told Bloomberg: ‘We are now going through front doors, making arrests and seizing properties.’

AOG Technics could not be contacted for comment.

Last week Ryanair became the latest airline to confirm dodgy parts had been found in two of its planes. 

The discovery was made during maintenance checks carried out in Texas and Brazil in the past few months. The parts, which were found in two of Ryanair’s Boeing planes, have been removed, the company said.

US carriers Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have become caught up in the scandal which has resulted in planes being grounded. 

The SFO investigation is the first criminal action since regulators were alerted to fake parts found in Boeing and Airbus planes earlier this year. 

Aviation watchdogs traced the supplies back to AOG Technics, an obscure London-based firm. Regulators in the UK, US and Europe accused the company of supplying engine parts with faked certification documents.

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority announced in August that it was ‘investigating the supply of a large number of suspect unapproved parts’ that could be traced back to AOG Technics.

It issued a safety notice warning airlines that some of the parts were used in engines fitted in UK planes. Operators and owners were told to investigate their records for parts bought directly or indirectly from the firm.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency also said in August that it was examining reports of parts with suspected falsified documents.

The US Federal Aviation Administration warned airlines about the scandal and Bloomberg has reported that the US Justice Department is in the early stages of a probe.