Rolls-Royce faces formal corruption investigation by the Brazilian Ministry of Transparency

14 February 2018 9:58am
Brazil on Map

1 February 2018. By Rodrigo Russo.

Rolls-Royce is facing a formal investigation by the Brazilian Ministry of Transparency for alleged acts of corruption in the country, a ministry spokesperson confirmed to MLex today. 

The probe was formalized on Jan. 17, following a preliminary investigation that began last year, according to a legal notice published in the government’s official journal.

Two public officials have already been appointed to lead the probe, which the agency has 180 days to conclude. Details of the investigation are confidential.

The Ministry of Transparency has the power to block companies from signing contracts with state-controlled companies for up to five years, and to impose fines for administrative and civil violations of Brazil’s Anticorruption Law.

“We will co-operate with the authorities in Brazil as far as possible given the agreements that we have reached with investigating authorities in the UK and elsewhere,” a spokesman for Rolls-Royce told MLex.

The British engineering company signed a plea deal with Brazilian federal prosecutors in January 2017, as part of the 671 million pound ($893 million) multi-jurisdictional deal to settle bribery and corruption investigations in the UK, US and Brazil.

In Brazil, the company paid $25.58 million to reach an agreement with the Federal Prosecutors’ Office. But companies also need to secure agreements with the Ministry of Transparency, the Attorney General's Office and the Federal Court of Auditors in order to fully settle cases in Brazil.

As part of its plea deal with US authorities, Rolls-Royce acknowledged it had paid $9.3 million in commissions to an intermediary in Brazil, who then paid $1.6 million in bribes to officials working at the state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras. In return for the bribes, Rolls-Royce won six Petrobras contracts for power turbines to offshore platforms and long-term service agreements between 2003 and 2013.

--With additional reporting by Ben Lucas in London

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