US: Ex Rolls-Royce staff Charged with Corruption

U.S. authorities unsealed charges against three former Rolls-Royce employees who have pleaded guilty of bribing foreign officials in exchange for overseas contracts, the Guardian reported Thursday.

imagesLogo der Rolls-Royce Group plcJames Finley, Keith Barnett and Aloysius Zuurhout and two other suspects who were not Rolls-Royce employees bribed government officials around the world between 1999 and 2013 in order to secure the British engineering firm "equipment and services to power a gas pipeline from central Asia to China," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

These bribes were intended to benefit a Rolls-Royce subsidiary located in the United States. The trio admitted to their actions following investigations led by both the United States and the United Kingdom. Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc. is located in the U.S. and its parent company, Rolls-Royce plc., is located in the U.K.

"This type of sophisticated fraud scheme can cause immeasurable economic losses to competitive markets around the world,” said Inspector in Charge Regina Faulkerson of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigations Group. “Anyone who engages in deceptive practices should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable."

The indictment said the three conspired together with Greek citizen Petros Contoguris who runs Gravitas & CIE. International Ltd. and with Austrian Andreas Kohler, the managing director at an international engineering and consulting firm, to pay bribes to foreign officials in exchange for directing business to Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc. They concealed the bribes as commission.

This seemingly banal scheme lasted 14 years before authorities caught on. Rolls-Royce has agreed to pay $US 880 million in penalties, according to The Guardian.