Rolls-Royce bribery scandal: British firm declares it does 'not tolerate improper business' as it is dragged into Petrobas corruption case

The engineering firm has been accused of involvement in a multi-billion dollar bribery and kick-back scheme at the Brazilian oil company

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The Independent Online

Rolls-Royce has claimed that it does “not tolerate improper business conduct of any sort” following a report it has been dragged into a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal currently surrounding Petrobas, the state-owned Brazilian oil company.

The British engineering firm and FTSE 100 company has been accused of involvement in a multi-billion dollar bribery and kickback scheme at Petrobras, the Financial Times has reported.

Rolls-Royce, which makes gas turbines for Petrobras' oil platforms, allegedly paid bribes via an agent in return for a $100 million (£64.9 million) contract, the FT said, citing testimony from a former Petrobras executive.

Pedro Barusco, who has struck a plea bargain with prosecutors, told police that he received at least $200,000 from Rolls-Royce, only part of that received by a group of politicians and other Petrobras executives, the report, which was based on court documents, added.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for Rolls Royce said: “We want to make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate improper business conduct of any sort and will take all necessary action to ensure compliance.”

Roll-Royce added that it had not received details of the allegations made in the report, nor has it been approached by Brazilian authorities.

The company is already facing allegations of bribery and corruption relating to its Asian businesses. The Serious Fraud office opened a criminal investigation into the claims in December 2013.

It has also been battling falling revenue, cutting 2600 jobs and unveiling plans to overhaul its Aerospace and Land & Sea divisions.

Meanwhile, Petrobras has been under mounting pressure since the launch last year of a criminal investigation into allegations of malpractice named “Operation Car Wash”.

The scandal forced the resignation of chief executive Maria das Gracas Foster and five other executive directors earlier this month and has even threatened Brazil's economy.

Such is the importance of Petrobras to Brazil - it produces 90% of the country's petrol and its bonds have traditionally served as a benchmark for all Brazilian companies - the affair has severely dented president Dilma Rousseff's popularity and could pose a risk for Brazilian companies seeking funding.