Rolls-Royce, that bastion of true British stiff upper lip has agreed to pay a record £671 million compensation to British, US and Brazilian authorities to settle bribery and corruption claims. I say old chaps, that’s not really cricket!
The purveyor of fine motor cars, and the odd aeroplane engine, has agreed voluntary settlements over allegations it used middle-men to bribe officials to secure contracts in countries including China and Indonesia.
Whilst this is current news, in 2014 RR revealed it was also being probed by the Justice Department in the US.
Since then, the concurrent British investigation has expanded to include about a dozen countries, among them corruption-free places like Nigeria, India and Saudi Arabia.
It is thought many of the allegations Rolls-Royce is faced with date back more than 10 years. They involve the use of intermediaries – which are local companies that handle sales, distribution, repair and maintenance – in countries where the Rolls-Royce does not have enough of its own employees.
Last year an investigation by BBC Panorama and the Guardian newspaper suggested the intermediaries were bribing potential clients with illicit payments. This is what happens when British companies, now owned by other countries, forget the lines of “Rule Britannia”.