BRITAIN’S Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today (22) dropped major investigations into engineering firm Rolls-Royce and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Rolls Royce had already reached a £500 million agreement with the SFO over claims that corruption and bribery were used to win business in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Nigeria and Malaysia.
The SFO said it had now concluded that there would be “no prosecution of individuals associated with the company”.
The investigation into GlaxoSmithKline related to commercial practices by the firm, its subsidiaries and associated individuals.
“After an extensive and careful examination I have concluded that there is either insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction or it is not in the public interest to bring a prosecution in these cases,” said SFO director Lisa Osofsky.
“In the Rolls-Royce case, the SFO investigation led to the company taking responsibility for corrupt conduct spanning three decades, seven jurisdictions and three businesses, for which it paid a fine of £497.25m.”
This figure, agreed in January 2017 as part of a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, comprised surrendered profits of £258m and a financial penalty of £239m.
Rolls-Royce is also paying an estimated £13m to cover the SFO’s costs.
The firm said it would not be commenting on today’s decision, beyond saying it was cooperating fully with the authorities following the 2017 deal.
In a statement, businessmen Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu Choudhrie said: “We are delighted to have been informed that the Serious Fraud Office has dropped its investigation into Rolls Royce and any individuals connected to it.
“We have always maintained our innocence and today’s announcement vindicates us.
“For five long years we have had this hanging over us and it has had a huge impact on us, on our families and on our business interests.
“We now look forward to getting on with the rest of our lives with our reputations intact”.