A British judge is to approve a settlement under which Rolls-Royce will resolve wide-ranging allegations of bribery and corruption against the UK engineering group.
Lord Leveson told Britain’s High Court on Tuesday he would approve a deferred prosecution agreement between Rolls-Royce and the UK Serious Fraud Office under which the the group will pay £497.2m: a record British fine for criminal conduct by a company.
The settlement also involves Rolls-Royce agreeing to pay $170m to the US Department of Justice and $25.6m Brazil’s Ministerio Publico Federal.
Richard Whittam QC, counsel for the SFO, told the court that Rolls-Royce had been charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to corrupt and failure to prevent bribery in the operations of the group’s civil and defence aerospace divisions, which make jet engines, as well as its energy unit.
Some of the alleged wrongdoing by Rolls-Royce focuses on bribes paid to intermediaries used to try and secure contracts to sell the company’s jet engines to airlines in emerging markets.
David Perry QC, lawyer for Rolls-Royce, said the behaviour set out by the prosecutors was “unacceptable and under no circumstances would it be condoned” by the new management at the company.
“Rolls-Royce apologises unreservedly for the conduct which has been uncovered,” he added.
“It is important to emphasise that Rolls Royce has undergone a fundamental change since the occurrence of the conduct in question.
“The company and its board is ultimately dedicated to ensuring that the company follows the highest standards of external business conduct.”
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