Rolls-Royce Holdings said Monday it did not pay bribes to win business from state-owned Brazilian energy giant Petrobras. Citing Brazilian court documents, The Financial Times reported Sunday the British engineering firm allegedly paid bribes to win a $100-million contract to provide gas turbines to power Petrobras oil-rigs.
"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," a Rolls-Royce spokesman said in a statement to the media.
According to court documents explained by the FT, Pedro Barusco, a Petrobras informant who struck a plea bargain after he was arrested in November, said he received $200,000 in bribes from Roll-Royce to help the company win the turbine contact in a deal struck nearly a decade ago.
Petrobras is being investigated by Brazilian authorities over allegations it charged contractors inflated prices and diverted funds to company executives and to the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party. The president’s approval rating has plummeted amid a scandal in which hundreds of millions of dollars were allegedly diverted to her party from the oil giant, according to France 24.
Britain's Serious Fraud Office is investigating whether Rolls-Royce (which is not to be confused with the luxury automaker that shares its name) paid bribes to win business in China and Indonesia.
On Friday, the world’s second largest maker of aircraft engines, reported its first sales decline in over a decade in 2014 and predicted a 13 percent drop in profit this year. Lower oil prices is hitting the company’s offshore business. The company’s share price was down 0.42 percent, to 940.50 British pounds ($1,446.60), in London trading on Monday.