Economy

US Charges Rolls-Royce Employees With Bribing Kazakh, Azerbaijani Officials

US Charges Rolls-Royce Employees With Bribing Kazakh, Azerbaijani Officials”

Prosecutors say the five conspired to pay bribes to steer business to Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc, a USA -based subsidiary of Britain's Rolls-Royce plc.

They are accused of being involved in schemes whereby foreign government officials received bribes in exchange for deals that benefited a Rolls-Royce subsidiary in the USA, including a contract to supply equipment and services to power a gas pipeline from central Asia to China.

Mr Zuurhout, 53, former sales manager of the engineering firm's energy division, from the Netherlands, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

The company announced in January that it had agreed to pay £671m to British, US and Brazilian authorities to settle bribery and corruption claims.

Britain's Serious Fraud Office Wednesday said its "investigation in respect of the conduct of individuals in Rolls-Royce Civil, Defence, Marine and former Energy Divisions continues".

Mr Barnett, a former regional director in energy at Rolls-Royce, Mr Zuurhout, previously an energy sales employee at the company and Mr Kohler each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Finley pleaded guilty July 28 to one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one count of violating the law. Another individual, Petros Contoguris, who worked as an intermediary for Rolls-Royce has been indicted.

U.S. legal officials said Mr Contoguris was believed to be outside America and was not available to comment on the case.

Kenneth Blanco, acting head of the US Justice Department's criminal division, said in a statement that the charges showed the US would hold individual people to account for corporate crimes, rather than merely seeking fines and settlements.

In separate court appearances that began previous year, Mr Zuurhout, Mr Kohler and Mr Barnett each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

According to the cases unsealed, the individuals charged were part of a scheme to pay kickbacks and disguise those payments to Contoguris's company, Gravitas, in exchange for helping Rolls-Royce win contracts for the Asia Gas Pipeline.

The newspaper quoted a spokesman for the British engine maker as saying in a statement that the company "has committed to full ongoing co-operation with the Department of Justice and can not comment on action against individuals".



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