Brookfield Aviation and McGinley Aviation under fire for Ryanair aviation contracts
German authorities have searched the offices of Ryanair in six German airports in connection with an investigation into tax evasion by UK-owned aviation recruitment specialists Brookfield Aviation International and McGinley Aviation.
The investigation into income tax evasion and social security payments saw the Irish airline’s offices searched at the Berlin Schonefeld airport, the Cologne Bonn airport, Frankfurt-Hahn, Karlsruhe-Baden-Baden, Bremen and Weeze, according to German newspaper Zeit.
According to German media, Brookfield Aviation and McGinley Aviation signed contracts with the pilots commissioned by Ryanair and are suspected of both tax evasion and the illegal withholding of pilots' salaries.
The investigation allegedly involves approximately 1,600 contracts which do not include provision for sick pay and pay pilots for time spent in flight only.
During the search investigators were reported to have interviewed pilots and confiscated computers, tablet computers, flight schedules and other documents.
McGinley Aviation stated, "McGinley Aviation has been made aware of an investigation taking place in Germany surrounding contract pilots. Whilst we have not been directly contacted by these authorities, McGinley Aviation has written to them offering to provide any information they may require. The tax and social insurance matters of our pilots operating on Ryanair aircraft are compliant with current legislation.”
Brookfield Aviation have been contacted by RI, but were not available for comment at the time of publication.
Ryanair confirmed in a statement that it had met with and agreed to assist German tax authorities into their investigation of contractor pilots.
“Ryanair requires all of its pilots, both directly employed and contractor, to be fully tax compliant at all times,” said the airline. “The German tax authorities have confirmed that Ryanair is not the subject of any tax investigations.”