The Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) have confirmed that a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) has been reached with Rolls Royce following a 3 year long criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption.
The investigation was launched after officials within Rolls Royce had passed information to the SFO alleging that the firm had paid bribes to secure contracts in various countries around the world.
The DPA was agreed between the parties on Monday 16 January 2017, but remains subject to court approval. If approved, Rolls Royce will be bound to pay £497m plus interest and full costs to the SFO.
The SFO DPA follows similar agreements also being reached between Rolls Royce and the authorities in the US and Brazil. The total amount payable by Rolls Royce globally will be £671m, with £293m being paid in the first year.
DPAs, which are commonly used in the US but were introduced into the UK only recently in 2014 and first used in 2015, allow companies to admit wrongdoing, pay fines and agree to compliance measures in order to avoid prosecution. Only two other DPAs have been agreed, at significantly lower figures and this latest DPA, if agreed, will be the highest settlement yet for the SFO. Many predict that the use of DPAs by the SFO will increase following this case.
Since this investigation was launched Rolls Royce have significantly tightened their internal and external bribery and corruption policies and set up an audit committee at each of its units in a bid to regulate and oversee such matters, according to the company’s latest annual report.
This case highlights the importance of businesses maintaining appropriate anti-bribery and corruption policies, making sure personnel are aware and comply with them, and ensuring that they are enforced if breached.
If you have any queries about how these matters might affect your business our team is happy to discuss, and can write, review or update any procedures that you have or would like to have in place moving forwards.