Qantas (ASX:QAN) share price suffers as drug smuggling claims surface

Qantas has responded to the claims, saying they are “disturbing”.

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Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) has hit the headlines as reports allege up to 150 of the airline’s staff could be involved in organised crime. At the time of writing, the Qantas share price is down 2.16% to $4.765.

Several Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC) mastheads published the claims yesterday. They reported federal crime agencies have reason to believe some Qantas staff have been involved in drug smuggling and other crimes that have compromised Australia’s border security.

Qantas’ chief security officer Luke Bramah responded to media reports last night, saying he finds them “disturbing”.

Let’s take a closer look at the news circulating.

Qantas in the headlines

According to reporting by Nine’s 60 Minutes, The Age, and The Sydney Morning Herald, a classified federal law enforcement intelligence operation found numerous Qantas employees linked to organised crime.

In response to the allegations, Bramah said Qantas has not been notified of any potential wrongdoing by its employees, saying:

None of Australia’s law enforcement agencies have told us of the existence of a report that suggests there are potentially 150 Qantas employees who have connections to organised crime. Nor have they raised concerns with us about our vetting or background checking processes.

We’ve written to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AFP, Border Force and Aviation and Maritime Security seeking details of the report.

Bramah also said Qantas is the only commercial airline that has an accreditation with Australian Border Force. The accreditation means all employees flying internationally must pass a fit and proper test.

Qantas stated that if concerns of an employee’s behaviour were raised by law enforcement agencies, they would be acted upon.

The reports claim a person with connections to a motorcycle gang works in Qantas’ middle management team at Sydney Airport. The reports allege the person has been recruiting criminals to the airline to help transport drugs.

They also reported the intelligence operation found $1 billion worth of cocaine entered Australia through a corrupt Qantas baggage handler. Further, they stated five Qantas staff have links to Islamic extremism.

Qantas share price snapshot

The Qantas share price has had a turbulent time on the ASX lately.

Currently, Qantas shares are around 1.65% lower than at the start of 2021. The Qantas share price is, however, around 3% higher than where it was this time last year.

The airline has a market capitalisation of around $9 billion, with approximately 1.8 billion shares outstanding.

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