By Brenda Goh
LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Two men were arrested in London on Wednesday as part of an investigation into aerospace and defence group Rolls Royce’s dealings in Asia.
In an emailed statement, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it had arrested two men. A source familiar with the matter said the arrests were connected to the investigation into Rolls Royce.
“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.” the agency said.
The two men were not current or former Rolls Royce employees and up to five residential addresses and one office were raided, a separate source familiar with the matter said. The office was not a Rolls Royce office, the person said.
The SFO said officers from the National Crime Agency and City of London Police assisted with the operation.
Rolls Royce, which is due to publish its full-year results on Thursday, declined to comment. City of London Police referred questions to the SFO, which declined to comment further.
The world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines said in December the SFO had launched a formal investigation into concerns of possible bribery and corruption in China and Indonesia.
A year earlier, it had passed information to the SFO relating to bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in overseas markets, and said it could face prosecution.
A source close to the investigation said at the time that the allegations had been raised with the SFO by a whistleblower. Another source said Rolls Royce had contacted the U.S. Department of Justice about the inquiry.
Last month, the SFO requested an extra 19 million pounds to help pay for complex investigations including the probe into Rolls Royce.
Allegations of corruption are not new to the defence industry, where companies tends 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 $450 million by the United States 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.