Bribery probe into Rolls Royce launched

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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened a criminal investigation into bribery and corruption allegations at Rolls-Royce.

The disclosure comes a year after Rolls said it was co-operating with the SFO after its own investigations identified matters of concern involving intermediaries in overseas markets.

It followed a request for information from the SFO about allegations of malpractice in Indonesia and China.

A spokesman for the SFO said today: “We confirm that the director of the Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption at Rolls-Royce.”

The group, which has a new manufacturing base in Rotherham and major sites at Derby and Bristol, employs around 45,000 people worldwide.

It appointed veteran lawyer Lord Gold last year to review the company’s compliance procedures in the wake of the claims.

In March, the company appointed BP director Ian Davis, a former managing director of management consultancy McKinsey & Co, as chairman.

The company’s brief statement today said: “Further to our announcement of December 6 2012 relating to concerns about bribery and corruption in overseas markets, we have been informed by the Serious Fraud Office that it has now commenced a formal investigation into these matters.”

Rolls-Royce said last year it has significantly strengthened its compliance procedures in recent years, including a new ethics code and an intermediaries policy.