Rolls-Royce is at the centre of bribery and corruption investigation by the Serious Fraud Office

Two arrested over Rolls-Royce bribery allegations

Two men have been arrested as part of the British anti-fraud agency's investigation into Rolls-Royce's dealings in Asia.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it had also carried out search warrants at properties in London as part of a continuing probe and were assisted by officers from the National Crime Agency and City of London police.

Rolls-Royce, which publishes full-year financial results tomorrow, declined to comment.

The SFO said in December it had launched a formal investigation into concerns of possible bribery and corruption at the world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines in relation to dealings in China and Indonesia.

The firm had said a year earlier that it had passed information to the SFO relating to bribery and corruption after its own investigations identified matters of concern involving intermediaries in overseas markets. It said then that it could face prosecution.

A spokesman for the SFO said today: "In connection with a Serious Fraud Office investigation, we can confirm a number of search warrants have been executed at various properties in London today. Two men were also arrested. Officers from the National Crime Agency and City of London Police assisted with the operation."

The SFO did not give further details about the arrests.

Rolls-Royce, which has major sites at Derby and Bristol and employs around 45,000 people worldwide, appointed veteran lawyer Lord Gold last year to review the company's compliance procedures in the wake of the allegations against it.

Allegations of corruption are not new to the defence industry, where companies tend to use individuals or companies to help broker deals in countries where they do not have a large presence.

Europe's largest defence contractor BAE Systems was fined $450m (£272m) by the USA and Britain in 2010 following long-running corruption investigations at home and abroad into defence deals in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

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