UK drops corruption probe against Rolls-Royce in India, other countries
London: The UK has announced the closure of its probe into corruption charges against senior executives of British aerospace and defence major Rolls-Royce in India and six other countries.
Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the UK government's investigation authority, which also closed a long-running probe against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, said in a statement on Friday that the cases had little chance of a successful prosecution and were being closed after nearly six years.
Rolls-Royce had become embroiled in allegations of bribery and corruption to win business in seven countries, including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia.
The SFO's inquiry had already been under way for around four years when it reached a plea deal with the company in 2017, which resulted in the company paying out a fine of nearly 500 million pound for misconduct spanning three decades.
"After an extensive and careful examination, I have concluded that there is either insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction or it is not in the public interest to bring a prosecution in these cases," SFO director Lisa Osofsky said in the statement.
"In the Rolls-Royce case, the SFO investigation led to the company taking responsibility for corrupt conduct spanning three decades, seven jurisdictions and three businesses, for which it paid a fine of 497.25 million pound," she said.
The investigation into Rolls-Royce Plc resulted in a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the company and one of its subsidiaries.
The DPA, used for fraud, bribery and other economic crime in the UK, is an agreement which allows a prosecution to be suspended for a defined period provided the organisation meets certain specified conditions.
The charges relating to India in the case involved "concealment or obfuscation of the use of intermediaries" to facilitate the company's defence business in India between 2005 and 2009, at a time when the use of intermediaries was restricted by the Indian authorities. It also involved charges that a "corrupt payment" had been made in 2006-2007 to recover a list of intermediaries in India.