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Rolls-Royce says no contact from Brazil over bribery allegations

Rolls-Royce, which is owned by Germany's BMW, did not specify a launch date for the new car, but said it had decided to make a luxury off-roader after consulting with its clients.

[LONDON] Rolls-Royce has not been approached by authorities in Brazil regarding bribery allegations made by a former Petrobras manager in a corruption scandal engulfing the state oil company, the British engineering company said on Monday.

The company, a supplier of gas turbines for oil platforms, was named by the former executive of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras in a plea bargain statement as having paid bribes on a contract worth US$100 million.

In his plea statement to prosecutors, former manager Pedro Barusco said the treasurer of Brazil's ruling Workers' Party received between US$150-200 million from kickbacks on 90 contracts with Petrobras from 2003-20013.

Barusco mentioned Rolls-Royce among a score of mainly Brazilian engineering and construction firms that allegedly paid bribes to win contracts with Petrobras, but he said he could not recall who actually made the payments, according to his statement posted on the website of newspaper Estado de S.Paulo.

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The allegations against Rolls-Royce were first reported by the Financial Times on Monday. "We have not received details of the allegations made in recent press reports, nor have we been approached by the authorities in Brazil," a Rolls-Royce spokesman said in an emailed statement.

In what is being called Brazil's worst corruption scandal in history, prosecutors allege that politicians from President Dilma Rousseff's ruling coalition used Petrobras to skim billions of reais through overpriced contracts for over a decade.

So far more than 40 people have been detained over their involvement in the scandal, which is known in the country as "Operation Car Wash." Rolls-Royce on Monday reiterated its zero-tolerance approach to wrongdoing. "We have always been clear that we will not tolerate improper business conduct of any sort and will take all necessary action to ensure compliance, including co-operating with authorities in any country," it said.

The world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines is under investigation by Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over concerns of possible bribery and corruption in China and Indonesia.

The company appointed lawyer David Gold to conduct a review of its compliance procedures after the China and Indonesia concerns came to light.

Shares in Rolls-Royce closed down 0.8 per cent at 936.5 pence.