U.K. Prosecutors Plan More Arrests in Rolls-Royce Bribery Probe

Sep 02, 2014 2:10 pm ET

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Serious Fraud Office is set to make more arrests in its bribery investigation involving jet- engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, the agency director said.

The SFO, which arrested two men in February, is investigating several others as part of its probe into bribery allegations in Asia, David Green said in an interview today at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime.

The investigation concerns “several divisions of Rolls- Royce business activity” and the SFO isn’t “hanging around,” Green said. “There will be more arrests.”

The SFO asked Rolls-Royce to look into possible corruption concerns, and in 2012, the London-based company handed over details on what it called “matters of concern” uncovered in China and Indonesia. A year later, the SFO opened an investigation into whether Rolls-Royce engaged local agents in return for orders and whether that could constitute corruption.

Bhanu Choudhrie, executive director of C&C Alpha Group Ltd., which invests in aviation, utilities and other industries, and his father, Sudhir Choudhrie, were arrested in February as part of the probe. No charges have been filed. Eben Black, a spokesman for the Choudhries, said they deny any wrongdoing and are cooperating with the SFO.

In January, the SFO cited the Rolls-Royce case as one of the reasons it needed an extra 19 million pounds ($31 million) in government funding this year.

Stephanie Watters, a spokeswoman for Rolls-Royce, declined to comment on the investigation.

--With assistance from Kari Lundgren in London.