Rolls-Royce to halt overseas bribery investigation by £671m

January 16, 2017 10:30 pm

Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines are on view on the assembly line at the Rolls Royce factory in Derby, central England on November 30, 2016. (Photos by AFP)

British manufacturing giant Rolls-Royce is set to pay £671 million in penalties to escape accusations of bribery it resorted to overseas.
The company said Monday that it agreed to pay the fortune in order to avoid being prosecuted.
The multinational company, which sells turbines and engines for passenger jets and military aircraft, will pay £497 million to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after a high court approval, $169m (£140m) to the US Department of Justice and $25m to the Brazilian authorities.
The payment will be a five-year process, agreed under a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), an arrangement by a company to stop investigations against it for a fine.
The settlement follows an investigation in 12 countries, where the country has “commercial agents,” tasked with clinching deals.
The settlement is “proof the UK is not willing to prosecute a large, politically connected company,” according to Susan Hawley, the policy director of Corruption Watch, as cited in a Guardian report.
Robert Barrington, the executive director of Transparency International, also said that the settlement is not enough and “there must be a prosecution of individuals.”
“The fine is an eye-catching size, much bigger than any previous deferred prosecution agreement. Transparency International has always that the DPA must only be used when it is in the public interest, so information needs to be put into the public domain about this investigation,” Barrington said. “The critical part is that there must be a prosecution of individuals. There is criminality here, and we would like to see the SFO set out a timeline for those prosecutions.”
Rolls-Royce released a statement Monday, announcing that it had reached seperate deals to settle corruption claims.
“These agreements relate to bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in a number of overseas markets, concerns about which the company passed to the SFO from 2012 onwards,” it said. “These are voluntary agreements which result in the suspension of a prosecution provided that the company fulfils certain requirements, including the payment of a financial penalty.”
The company, which has had good ties with all the British governments has on several occasions been praised by the country’s bigwigs. The Duke of Cambridge once called it “one of the ’s great global companies,” while former Prime Minister David Cameron hailed it as “a world leader in the development of advanced technologies … of which the whole country can be proud.”
According to Hawley, “The extent and egregious nature of the allegations against Rolls-Royce – and the fact that all indications are that it didn’t actually self-report, but this came from a whistleblower – really raise questions about whether this is being done as a convenient form for Rolls-Royce to carry on getting public contracts.”
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