Rolls-Royce Settles Corruption Case with $812 Million in Fines

 - January 17, 2017, 12:18 PM

Engine maker Rolls-Royce agreed to pay penalties totaling more than $812 million to avoid going to a full trial over allegations of bribery and corruption following a complex investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The High Court in London on Tuesday confirmed a Deferred Prosecution Agreement reached between the UK-based manufacturer and the SFO. The agreement calls for Rolls-Royce to pay £497.3 million ($616.7 million) to the UK authorities, $169.9 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and $25.6 million to Brazil’s Ministério Público Federal.

The SFO investigation, which began in 2012, covered multiple instances in which various intermediaries acting on behalf of Rolls-Royce in different countries made improper payments and gifts to secure deals for engines for civil and military aircraft, as well as for industrial energy generation equipment. The company faced charges of 12 counts of conspiracy to corrupt and failure to prevent bribery relating to the activities of the intermediaries. The actions in question included dealings involving contracts with Indonesian airline Garuda, Thai Airways and China Eastern Airlines.

David Perry, an attorney acting for Rolls-Royce, said that the company’s current management acknowledges that the practice outlined by prosecutors was “unacceptable and under no circumstances would it be condoned.” He said that Rolls-Royce “apologizes unreservedly for the conduct which has been uncovered.”

SFO attorney Sir Edward Garnier gave Rolls-Royce credit for its “high level of cooperation” with the investigation, which was triggered by allegations of a whistleblower.

Law firm Debevoise & Plimpton advised Rolls-Royce in reaching the DPA with the SFO, and also on the equivalent agreements with the U.S. and Brazilian authorities.

Rolls-Royce’s share price increased by 8 percent on news of the settlements. The company indicated that it will give a full account of the financial implications of the case when it publishes full-year 2016 results on February 14.