Britain’s Serious Fraud Office widens probe into Rolls-Royce’s bribery allegations in Nigeria

19 May 2016


Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has widened its probe into Rolls-Royce's former energy operations on allegations of suspected bribery in the African state of Nigeria, the Financial Times reported today reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The probe is part of a wider inquiry that also covers Brazil, Indonesia and China, the report said.

The SFO is investigating whether Rolls-Royce and its agents were involved in bribery of government officials in Nigeria up to the year 2013 in connection with energy tenders in the country and a Nigerian company called PSL Engineering & Control, the report added.

PSL acted for Rolls-Royce on projects in Nigeria to supply gas turbines to power plants in the oil states of Bayelsa and Delta, the FT said, citing the PSL's website.

"We are co-operating with the authorities," a Rolls-Royce spokesman said. "We do not comment on the subject of ongoing investigations nor on the countries in which those investigations are being conducted.

"We have made it clear that Rolls-Royce will not tolerate business misconduct of any kind."

The SFO refused to comment on the report but said its investigation is continuing.

The SFO had in 2013 launched a formal investigation into Rolls Royce over concerns about possible bribery and corruption in Brazil, China and Indonesia. (See: UK's Serious Fraud Office probes Roll-Royce for bribery)

The investigation is said to have started around alleged bribes paid by intermediaries to local companies in Indonesia and China which provided sales, distribution, repair and servicing.

The company's internal investigation in 2012 pointed to the possibility of similar infringements of bribery and corruption laws several other countries. A number of allegations go back to over 10 years.

The 2010 Bribery Act, gives the SFO powers to investigate and prosecute corruption at home or abroad. Companies need to alert the SFO, with evidence of wrong doing, to be considered for immunity.

The world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines, had in 2012 said that it had passed information to the SFO relating to bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in overseas markets.

The company had said at the time that it could face prosecution over the allegations.

Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of Indonesia's late president, had in 2013 denied allegations of receiving bribes from Rolls-Royce.

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