Rolls-Royce Settlement Offers Lessons on How to Pay Commissions Without Corruption

Rolls-Royce’s recent massive settlement with U.S., U.K. and Brazilian authorities is a stark reminder of the anti-corruption risks associated with intermediaries, agents and fixers when negotiating contracts with state-owned entities. Commissions paid by Rolls-Royce to its agents – including notorious oil-and-gas “solutions” provider Unaoil – often were eventually passed on to foreign officials to close deals, netting Rolls-Royce a global settlement for hundreds of millions of dollars. In this first article discussing the case, we look at the bribes Rolls-Royce paid, how its compliance program failed to prevent them and what companies can do to make sure that commissions paid to agents are not used improperly. In a second article, we will look at the implications for cooperative U.S. and U.K. enforcement and what the SFO is looking for in terms of cooperation and remediation. See “Bribery Act Experts Discuss the Impact of Brexit, DPAs and Other U.K. Developments” (Jul. 13, 2016).

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