Rolls faces SFO bribery investigation

trentXWB300In a short statement yesterday, Britain’s blue chip aero engine manufacturer – the second biggest in the world – announced that it had been informed that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had commenced a formal investigation into bribery and corruption in overseas markets.

Putting more flesh on the bones of the revelation that follows an earlier Rolls’ announcement about such concerns put out on December 7, the Daily Telegraph ( says that the SFO had spent more than a year examining claims from a whistleblower over Rolls’ use of middle-men in winning multi-million pound contracts in Indonesia, China and elsewhere, dating back more than 20 years.

The Guardian (, pointing out that SFO director David Green had decided to step up its probe also pointed out that the announcement came in the same month that the SFO suffered another reversal, following a number of failed inquiries and trials.

Reporting on the earlier December 7 announcement, the Jakarta Post ( pondered whether or not any misdemeanors were likely to be recent enough to face what it described as “the draconian British Bribery Act”.

It went on, “This law, which came into effect in July 2011, introduced a new offense of failure to prevent bribery, and clamps down on ‘facilitation payments’ and disproportionate hospitality to oil the wheels of business. “Companies can be handed unlimited fines if they cannot show they have “adequate procedures” to prevent bribery, while guilty individuals face up to 10 years in prison and unlimited fines.”


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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