SFO Drops Investigation Into Rolls-Royce

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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has dismissed its probe into a number of individuals who are associated with Rolls-Royce, the British car manufacturing giant.

Originally reported by Sky News, a number of people who were considered as suspects in the investigation of the SFO have been informed that they are no longer under investigation.

In January 2017, Rolls-Royce entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the SFO after four years of investigation into corruption and bribery. It was ordered to pay a settlement amounting to £497.25 million plus interest, as well as the costs of SFO amounting to £13m.

A DPA allows a firm to account to a court for conduct without bearing the full consequences of a criminal conviction. The DPA covered conduct spanned various jurisdictions including Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, India, China, Malaysia, and Nigeria.

A spokesperson for the SFO stated: “Some individuals were notified that they are no longer suspects in the Rolls-Royce investigation. The investigation continues into a number of individuals.”

While a spokesperson for Rolls-Royce disclosed: “Rolls-Royce continues to co-operate fully with the authorities, including ongoing co-operation as the Serious Fraud Office pursues enquiries into individuals. We note the latest action taken by the SFO, but will not comment on individual cases.”

The case against the car manufacturing giant was considered as one of a number of high-profile “blockbuster” cases that were secured under the tenure of David Green, the former director of the SFO.

Green has since been succeeded by Lisa Osofsky, a former FBI lawyer, after he joined Slaughter and May, an elite law firm.

The decision to scale back the probe comes at a testing time for the SFO and Osofsky.

In 2018, its case against two former executives at Tesco over their part in the accounting scandal of 2014 was thrown out because of a lack of evidence and the two defendants were later acquitted.

The charges that it brought against Barclays bank over a $3 billion loan that was made to Qatari investors were also thrown out last year, even though the charges against the former chief executive of the bank and some of its other senior employees remain in place.

Meanwhile, three defendants who were accused of rigging the Euribor interest rate benchmark are scheduled to stand trial again later this month after a jury failed to reach a verdict last summer.