Rolls-Royce claims aired years ago
A whistleblower claimed for at least six years that Rolls-Royce had been paying bribes to secure business for its engines with overseas customers, it has emerged.
The group disclosed last week that it is in talks with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to concerns about bribery and corruption in Indonesia and China and warned there was the potential for the prosecution of individuals and the company.
The FTSE 100 engineering group hired law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct the investigation after the SFO's request for information.
The company said last week in a statement: "Investigations by Rolls-Royce have identified matters of concern in these and in other overseas markets.
"The consequence of these disclosures will be decided by the regulatory authorities. It is too early to predict the outcomes, but these could include the prosecution of individuals and of the company. We will co-operate fully."
Rolls-Royce said it has significantly strengthened its compliance procedures in recent years, including a new ethics code and an intermediaries policy. The company is to appoint an independent senior figure who will lead a review of current procedures and report to the ethics committee of the board.
Chief executive John Rishton said last week: "I want to make it crystal clear that neither I nor the board will tolerate improper business conduct of any sort and will take all necessary action to ensure compliance. This is a company with exceptional prospects and I will not accept any behaviour that undermines its future success."
The allegations - including those of Mr Taylor - reportedly pre-date Mr Rishton, whose predecessor Sir John Rose, ran the company from 1996 until last year, although none of Mr Taylor's allegations suggest he was directly involved or give an exact date of when they occurred.
The SFO has yet to decide whether to launch a criminal investigation of Rolls-Royce.