The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has dropped its investigations into individuals at Rolls Royce PLC and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The decision to halt two of the agency’s most high profile probes comes at a significant juncture for the SFO.
The probe into Rolls Royce was opened in late 2013 and led to a £500m Deferred Prosecution Agreement, the largest ever agreed in this jurisdiction. The indictment covered 12 counts of conspiracy to corrupt, false accounting and failure to prevent bribery spanning three decades. Deferred Prosecution Agreements do not include individuals – in fact the agreement with Rolls Royce necessitated that the company would aid the SFO’s investigation of its employees. The probe into commercial practices at GSK stems back to May 2014, following a Chinese government probe into the company’s use of third party intermediaries.
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