Rolls-Royce bribery claims narrowed, say reports

The long-running saga over claims that Rolls-Royce bribed agents to win export contracts has taken another twist.

According to Sky News, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has dropped its investigation into a number of former Rolls-Royce Holdings employees as it comes under pressure to put an end to an investigation that began six years ago.

Sky News says “a number of people” who were suspects in the SFO’s inquiry have been told that they are no longer under investigation – including Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce’s former chief executive.

An SFO spokeswoman told Sky News that “some individuals were notified that they are no longer suspects in the Rolls-Royce investigation”, adding: “The investigation continues into a number of individuals.”

In January 2017, Derby-based manufacturing giant Rolls-Royce said it would pay out £671m in penalties after coming to an agreement with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and a Leniency Agreement with Brazil’s Ministério Público Federal (MPF).

Rolls-Royce agreed to make payments to the DoJ totalling $169,917,710 and to the MPF totalling $25,579,179. Under the terms of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the SFO, Rolls-Royce will pay £497,252,645 plus interest under a schedule lasting up to five years, plus a payment in respect of the SFO’s costs.

The payments mean that the firm will avoid being prosecuted in the UK, US and Brazil over the claims, although individual employees of Rolls-Royce could still be charged.