Corruption from Rolls-Royce: the company gave bribes in 12 countries

Photo: Bloomberg

One of the largest British companies — Rolls-Royce Plc, famous for its engines, turbines and generators, could corrupt schemes to obtain contracts in 12 countries, claim to be British yet

A scandal in a noble brand

Rolls-Royce Plc does not pay bribes. Her dirty work done by the professionals of this business — at least this version October 31, nominated by the Guardian, which managed to get acquainted with the inner materials of the British anti-corruption investigations and interview sources in the company.

The investigation conducted by the office for combating economic crimes in especially large sizes (Serious Fraud Office). Four years ago the Department announced that it is studying the actions of a Rolls-Royce in Indonesia and China for possible corruption. Ostensibly the flagship of British industry received state contracts in Asia with the assistance of bribed officials. the Tempter was made by the intermediaries with which Rolls-Royce is clearly dealt with.

Rolls-Royce cars

Rolls-Royce is a British company specializing in the production of equipment for aircraft, ships and power equipment. The company traces its history back to 1906 when it was founded as Rolls-Royce Limited the owner and engineer sir Frederick Henry Royce, the first baronet of Seaton, and Aviator and racing driver Charles Stewart Rolls. Initially the company was engaged in manufacture of cars, first racing. The first aircraft engine, the company issued in 1914. In 1920 the production of aircraft engines becomes the main activity of the company.

In 1971 the company was nationalized after the bankruptcy. The division of the company engaged in the production of vehicles identified as Rolls-Royce Motors, became the property of the company Vickers, and in 1998 became a subsidiary of BMW AG Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.

In 1987 Rolls-Royce Limited was privatized and transformed into Rolls-Royce Plc.

The company currently produces over 35 types of aircraft engines (in the world over 13 thousand engines the company uses in civil aviation and more than 16 thousand of engines on military aircraft), ship engines, power plants for submarines, industrial turbines and electric generating sets. Units and offices in 39 countries.

Revenue of £13.8 billion (2015), net profit — £1.1 billion (2015).

The mere use of lobbyists for British companies, of course, is not prohibited, but only under the condition that the payment of these intermediaries are not going to bribe and bribery. In 2012, Rolls-Royce in response to the request of the law enforcement officers she gave them a list of projects that could raise suspicions in the use of illegal methods of doing business.

Since then, the list of countries where Rolls-Royce has received contracts, appearing in suspicious proximity to unscrupulous brokers, only grew, and now the Guardian found that British economic crimes is investigating the company’s achievements in 12 countries.

Mediators by name Choudhry

In the list prepared by the British yet attracted the attention of two figures, or rather two families. It Choudhri and Asani.

First native to India. Perhaps that it lobbied interests of Rolls-Royce at home. In any case it is in connection with that suspicion of British economic crimes in February 2014 have arrested the head of the family of Sudhir and his son Bhanu, wrote the Financial Times. Both denied having helped Rolls-Royce or paid bribes and were released on bail, and after this measure was canceled, and not being able to charge.

Itself Rolls-Royce limited to statements that fully cooperates with the investigation, and refuses to discuss the details. However, an anonymous source in the Guardian Rolls-Royce said that Chudhry collaborated with the company when she agreed to supply aircraft engines to India. This was a joint project with BAE, the aerospace company. For delivery in 2004 and 2010, the company received a total of more than £2 billion was Collected aircraft of the Indian state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which Board of Directors until 2013 he headed the uncle of Sudhir Choudhri.

Sudhir was born in 1949 and career in business began in the 1960s with the supply of the British TV equipment to the Indian government. From India and exported goods and machinery to the Soviet Union. Since then, he has built a vast business Empire, real estate in India and Britain, the British chain of shopping centers. In London, he moved in 2002, has become known as a philanthropist and as one of the largest sponsors of the Liberal democratic party. The current Prime Minister of Britain Theresa may in 2013, as Minister of internal Affairs, handed Sudhir Choudhri award for achievements in business development in Asia, although his place in Parliament she fought with a liberal Democrat.

Choudhri have an obvious talent not only to establish but also to maintain ties, despite the trouble. In 1996 Indian police raided his house in Delhi — suspected that he for a fee of $150 million facilitated the purchase of weapons from an Israeli company. Ten years later, another scandal again with the purchase of Israeli weapons. Charges were never filed in the first nor in the second case. But the Indian Central Bureau of investigation Choudhri included in the list of 23 “unscrupulous leaders” with whom it is better not to get involved.

However, according to the Indian Economic Times in 2007-2008 family Choudhri received more than $100 million from Russian arms companies, and in 2010 the Indian government decided to buy Russian weapons for $1.2 billion — although how this decision contributed to Choudhry of the publications is unclear.

Lobbyists by name Asani

Another family — Asani — famous this year. It came from Iran, settled in Monaco. From there they run the company Unaoil, which, in the words of investigative journalists, corrupted the whole world (a joint contribution by the Australian Fairfax Media and Huffington Post, published in March and entitled: The Company that Bribed the World).

As in the case with the publication of the Guardian, the investigation is based on the leak, namely, internal emails Unaoil for 2001-2012. The material was the reason for British economic crimes to investigate the activities of these lobbyists.

Five of the 12 episodes in the list of the British Minister is due to the partnership of Rolls-Royce and Unaoil, but among the clients of the other titans of the global industry is the American Halliburton, Italy’s Eni, Korea’s Samsung and Hyundai, the German MAN and Siemens, as well as the many smaller companies. And Unaoil is always between them and distributing government orders officials in the less developed but resource-rich countries.

“We just take Western technology with local capabilities [producers],” said the authors of the March of the investigation, the head of the family ATA Asani. “And bribes to local officials pay?” — asked the journalists. “In any case” — was the answer.

Judging by the correspondence Unaoil, some of her clients actually thought that paying for a perfectly legal lobbying services. The others all understood. “I would like to know what baksheesh need to teach these people to get the contract?” wrote in Unaoil representative of the canadian drilling company Canuck Completions in late 2008 about the developments in Libya. Some demanded kickbacks from funds allocated for bribes to officials.

She Unaoil was paid to officials of commodity-dependent countries, not directly, but through intermediaries, but the illusions did not suffer — in the investigation cited the epithets “lobbyists” were awarded, for example, Iraqi officials and top managers of state companies: “greedy goats”. These characters, according to Fairfax and Huffington, from 2004 to 2012, we spent $25 million.

Not so greedy they were — the Ministers received millions at once, and, for example, the officer who led a key project to increase oil production, was content to raise only $6,000 a month, $1000 — for subordinates. As a result, billions of dollars in government contracts were distributed civilized companies through rigged tenders or no.

Lobbying business Unaoil has been doing for 25 years. And does it gently. If one of its agents in the correspondence mentions a bribe or kickback, then immediately gets the response of the CEO of Cyrus Asani: the letter to the wrong address, I have no idea what it is, our company doesn’t do stuff like that. The names of the most important partners Unaoil encrypted. However, HuffPost and Fairfax believe that able to split at least part of the code. For example, in letters 2006, under the initials MZ, investigators believe, were Mustafa Zarti a family friend of Gaddafi and a member of the Board of Libyan foreign investment Committee, “which oversees the Oil Fund [$6 billion]. <…> MZ agreed to assign us all oil and gas work.” We have customers with Unaoil.

The family Asani, by its own estimates, in 2007 the accounts were €63 million, his estate in Europe and the United States was estimated at €130 million Until the publication in March of this year Unaoil Monaco lived happily ever after. Yes, and what would be worrying, if Prince albert himself had shown her the favor, not once were friendly with the family of Asani at social events. Cyrus was the Treasurer of the Embassy club, which is headed by a Prince. A close friend of the Emperor was part of the Advisory Board Unaoil.

But in the spring weather at this resort for the company has deteriorated: after the scandal of its headquarters was searched by the Monaco police, and the British economic crimes received an additional budget to investigate the Unaoil adventure — and with it the Rolls-Royce. Because even if the Rolls-Royce these lobbyists had not violated the law, and enough of their other merits.

Now in the sensational investigation helped Guardian and BBC, among others, recorded an interview with one of the former employees Unaoil Lindsay Mitchell. He said that in 2009, personally gave a bribe to the Manager of one of the subsidiaries of the Libyan state oil company. The Manager, according to Mitchell, promised that will help customers Unaoil to order. “The payment I made in the house of the official at 11 PM, told the former agent of the Unaoil. Just put the envelope and said here is your gift.”

Previously, these revelations from former employees of Unaoil did not happen. Probably a long correspondence, the company merged one of its employees. Probably the former — merged files end 2012. But this source is still not disclosed. Even in the summer, the company threatened Fairfax and HuffPost claims and said that some of the information on which they based the assumptions of journalists, was obtained by criminal means, including extortion.

But in addition to the partnership with Unaoil Rolls-Royce-already exists in the archive reliable corruption case in Saudi. $23 million paid by the company in the late 1990s, members of the Royal family for a defense contract, could not emerge, because the amount of Rolls-Royce transferred to an unnamed Panamanian company. Then, the Saudi monarch went to court: they say the company promised them almost twice as much. The lawsuit never took place, it was all over non-public extrajudicial transaction. But now, if you believe the Guardian, then it lives again, and its leading economic crimes can achieve both punishment and his publicity — he’s in the fifth year of the investigation show some result.

Besides, the British law enforcement authorities can hope to help the German colleagues: the German branch of Rolls-Royce in April paid a fine of €12 million for the use of corruption schemes in sales in South Korea, and in the summer the Prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart announced that it was investigating similar business in seven Asian countries.

Corporations and corruption


In 2014 in Brazil uncovered a massive corruption scheme at state-controlled petrochemical company Petrobras. Prosecutors suspect executives of the company in the theft of more than $3.8 billion. Among those arrested was the former Director of supply Petrobras, Paulo Roberta Costa, who, by his own admission, had received bribes from the largest construction companies in exchange for contracts at inflated prices. Part of the kickbacks Costa and other top executives of Petrobras has handed over to the Brazilian politicians. As a defense witness in the case of the head of a construction company in the court was caused by the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, who claims that he did not know about used by the company to the scheme. Currently under investigation are almost 50 current and former politicians at the Federal level. Among them is the former President of Brazil Fernando Afonso Kolor di Cretaceous.

TeliaSonera, Vimpelcom and MTS

In 2012-2015 in relation to the telecommunications companies TeliaSonera (Ucell), VimpelCom (Beeline) and MTS in several European countries and in the United States were criminal investigation into possible bribery in the large size Uzbek officials. The investigation takes place in Switzerland, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. American investigators say that offshore companies, which transferred money to the operators, was the daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, Gulnara Karimova, and the Islam Karimov. American prosecutors indicated that Gulnara Karimova allegedly received from TeliaSonera $360 million, from MTS $380 million from VimpelCom and $150 million over a corruption scandal, the President of TeliaSonera Lars Nyberg resigned, and MTS has sold its stake in the Uzbek business and left the market.


In 2008, the largest engineering company in Europe was charged with giving bribes to representatives of governments and state-owned companies in several countries, including in Russia. The verdict was the names of Russian top managers, who allegedly received bribes from Siemens and gifts. The kickbacks taken in the procurement of a telephone and medical equipment, as well as in the design of automated control system of road traffic on Third transport ring in Moscow. In total amount of bribes Siemens worldwide was then estimated at $1.4 billion. the Company had to pay fines of about $800 million in the U.S. and $800 million in Germany, and the investigation has cost Siemens around $1 billion In 2010, Siemens launched legal proceedings against two top managers of the company, accusing them that they failed to prevent the proliferation of corruption in the group.


In 2010, German car company Daimler has pleaded guilty in the case of bribing officials in 22 countries, including Russia, entered into a settlement agreement with the authorities of justice, who accused him of corruption, and paid a fine of $185 million within five years thereafter, the company conducted an internal investigation, which cost her another $500 million According to the Ministry of justice, in 2000-2005 Russian officials received around €5 million and 80 thousand deutschmarks in kickbacks on state contracts. In total during this period, the company delivered the state of the cars for €64.7 million, that is, the kickbacks amounted to around 7.8%.

Baker Hughes Inc

In 2007, the “daughter” of the third largest oilfield services companies, Baker Hughes Inc, Baker Hughes Services International has recognized the fact of bribery of Kazakh officials in the service contract of the consortium developing the Karachaganak field. The contract price was $219 million, and the penalty for violation of anti-corruption legislation amounted to $44.1 million

Sources: U.S. Department of justice, the Commission on securities and stock exchanges of the U.S., RBC, Vedomosti, Bloombers, Forbes, BBC, Financial Times, International Business Times


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