Rolls-Royce launches 24-hour ‘ethics line’April 2014
Rolls-Royce, the UK manufacturer of aero engines and marine and energy equipment, has introduced a 24-hour “ethics line” enabling employees to voice bribery suspicions.
At the same time Rolls-Royce says it will reclaim bonuses from corrupt executives.
The whistleblower line is the company’s response to the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) criminal investigation into alleged multi-million-dollar bribes in Indonesia and China and a similar inquiry by India’s corruption police into reported kickbacks.
The action comes six years after Rolls-Royce employee Dick Taylor told the company that $20m (£12m, €14.4m) bribes were paid to the son of the former Indonesian president Haji Muhammad Suharto.
Taylor was threatened then that he “would be sacked, no matter what”. He reacted by resigning and publicising the allegations on newspaper websites.
One post read: “Just one example is that Tommy Suharto was given £20m and new blue Rolls-Royce car … to force the Indonesian airline Garuda to take Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines on the A330 aircraft they were buying.”
The SFO followed with an investigation and in December arrested wealthy UK-based businessman Sudhir Choudhrie, a generous donor to the Liberal Democratic Party, and his son Bhanu.
Both men, who deny wrongdoing, were freed without charge.
A second investigation has now been begun by the Indian fraud office into claims that Rolls-Royce paid bribes of 5bn rupees ($81m, £49m, €58m) to staff at the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics company to secure government orders.
John Rishton, Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, has insisted: “We will not tolerate improper conduct of any sort.”
Rishton was equally emphatic that bonuses will be clawed back from any Rolls-Royce executives found to have participated in bribery and corruption.
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