Charges were unsealed yesterday against three former Rolls-Royce employees and two other individual for their alleged participation in a scheme to bribe foreign officials to benefit a U.S.-based Rolls-Royce subsidiary, including to win work on a new gas pipeline.
According to the unsealed indictment, the three Rolls-Royce employees along with an employee at a consulting firm devised a scheme with the founder of a company called Gravitas through which payments disguised as commissions to Gravitas were paid to at least one foreign official and to the consulting firm’s staff. In exchange, Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc. secured work on a gas pipeline between Central Asia and China.
Four of the five individuals pleaded guilty to charges brought under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA prohibits individuals and businesses from bribing foreign government officials to obtain or retain business.
The Justice Department released a statement yesterday, saying that “in pleading guilty, [the Rolls-Royce employees] admitted that they each participated in a conspiracy – going as far back as approximately 1999 and continuing into 2013 – to engage commercial advisors who would use their commission payments from Rolls-Royce to bribe foreign officials in a number of countries to help Rolls-Royce secure an improper advantage and obtain and retain business with foreign governments and instrumentalities across the globe.”
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