Rolls-Royce Vows Compliance After Petrobras Bribe Accusation

Rolls-Royce Holdings said it will take all necessary action to ensure compliance with the law following allegations it was involvement in bribery and kickbacks at Brazilian oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Rolls-Royce, which produces gas turbines for Petrobras oil platforms, allegedly paid bribes via an agent to win a $100 million contract, according to testimony from a former Petrobras executive that was published on the website of a federal court in Parana state. The Financial Times reported the testimony in an article on its website dated Sunday.

“We want to make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate improper business conduct of any sort and will take all necessary action to ensure compliance,” a spokesman for Rolls-Royce said in an e-mailed response today to the article.

Petrobras, the state-run oil producer, is mired in Brazil’s biggest graft scandal, with accusations that company executives took bribes from a cartel of construction companies and shared the proceeds with politicians. The case is being investigated by Brazilian securities authorities, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and external lawyers hired by the company.

Rolls-Royce is already under investigation by the U.K. Serious Fraud Office for potential wrongdoing in business dealings in Asia. The investigation was made formal in December 2013 after the company in 2012 handed over details on its dealings in China and Indonesia that led to an investigation into bribery.

Intermediary

A plea bargain signed by former Petrobras manager Pedro Barusco was one of about 50 documents posted Feb. 5 on the court website. In testimony to police released with the plea bargain, in which he admits to crimes of corruption and money laundering, Barusco said he received at least $200,000 from the London-based engineering company and also took cash from SBM Offshore NV, the Dutch oil platform supplier, via an intermediary. Barusco reported to the head of Petrobras’ engineering division until 2010.

SBM has agreed to pay The Netherlands’s prosecution office $240 million to settle a case of improper payments in Africa and Brazil, it said in a Nov. 12 statement.

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