Lack of individual prosecutions in Rolls Royce bribery case condemned

By agency reporter
February 26, 2019

On 22 February 2019, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office announced the closure of the Rolls-Royce and GlaxoSmithKline cases.

The investigation into Rolls-Royce PLC resulted in a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the company and one of its subsidiaries in respect of bribery and corruption to win business in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia.  Following further investigation, a detailed review of the available evidence and an assessment of the public interest, there will be no prosecution of individuals associated with the company.

Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said: “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. 

“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."

Transparency International UK (TIUK) said the closure of the case against Rolls Royce without any individuals being prosecuted is “absurd” and justice has not been served.

TIUK believes that Deferred Prosecution Agreements are only successful when followed up with individual prosecutions against those responsible for the wrong-doing.

Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said: “It is absurd that yet again a company can admit to bribery and yet neither the bribe payers nor the management team that allowed the crime to happen are held responsible. This case calls into question whether the SFO was correct to offer Rolls Royce a DPA. It is hard to believe that the interests of justice have been served or that there has been proper acknowledgement of the victims of the crime.

“DPAs must act as a serious deterrent against companies and include serious penalties that will prevent any future wrongdoing. A good DPA is one that is in the public interest and doesn’t allow companies or individuals to evade justice. This case is in danger of sending a message to companies that DPAs are a soft option for those engaging in serious corruption and that, at the right price, can buy their way out of punishment giving impunity to those who flagrantly broke the law.”

* Serious Fraud Office

* Transparency International UK


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