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Four Plead Guilty in Kazakh Pipeline Bribery Scheme

Rolls-Royce has already paid $800 million to settle allegations of corruption in several countries.

9 November 2017

The United States unsealed charges Tuesday against five individuals accused of participation in bribery schemes to help British defense and engineering firm Rolls-Royce win contracts in several countries including Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.


Four of the accused have already pleaded guilty, RFE/RL reports. They include former Rolls-Royce executive James Finley, who admitted to corruption charges in July.


The five are said to have conspired to pay bribes to steer business to a U.S.-based subsidiary of Rolls-Royce, and schemed to pay kickbacks to a another company in exchange for helping Rolls-Royce win contracts for a gas pipeline from Kazakhstan to China.


In January the company agreed to pay an $800 million penalty to the UK, U.S., and Brazil to settle accusations of wrongdoing in at least seven countries.


The penalty payment resolved a pending U.S. criminal case against Rolls-Royce, but still allowed for individual prosecutions in the future.


The U.S. Justice Department said the company paid commissions of approximately $5.4 million to advisers on its bids for energy contracts in Kazakhstan, knowing it would be used to bribe foreign officials with influence over a joint venture between the Kazakh and Chinese governments to build a gas pipeline between the two countries.


The fifth person charged, Petros Contoguris, owner of a company believed to have been involved in the Kazakhstani pipeline deal, is accused of money laundering and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and is believed to be at large outside the United States.



  • In the January settlement, Rolls-Royce admitted to paying officials at state-run energy companies in Kazakhstan, Thailand, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Angola and Iraq more than $35 million for contracts, Reuters reported.


  • The gas pipeline venture awarded Rolls-Royce a contract in 2009 for $145 million. The company then made payments to Contoguris’s company, Gravitas, RFE says.


  • A Rolls-Royce spokesman released a statement saying the company is committed to co-operating with the Department of Justice but could not comment on the actions taken against individuals.

Compiled by Claudia Harmata

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