Nick Leeson's lawyer called in by Rolls-Royce ex-boss as fraud squad widens its net

Hayley Kirton
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Rolls-Royce shelled out £671m to settle corruption probes with three authorities last week (Source: Getty)

The ex-boss of Rolls-Royce has called in the lawyer who defended rogue trader Nick Leeson as the fraud squad's probe into his former company hones in on individuals.

Sir John Rose, who was chief executive of the engine maker from 1996 to 2011, has appointed Stephen Pollard, a white collar crime expert at London law firm WilmerHale.

Last week, Rolls-Royce agreed to pay £671m to settle corruption investigations with authorities in the US, the UK and Brazil, with the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) securing itself £497.3m under a deferred prosecution agreement. The company has also been told to pay to fraud squad's costs of £13m.

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The DPA suspends prosecution against the firm, provided it sticks to various terms, including cooperating with future prosecutions against individuals.

In his judgment to approve the DPA, Sir Brian Leveson noted: "The investigation into the conduct of individuals continues and nothing in this agreement in any way affects the prospects of criminal prosecutions being initiated if the full code test for prosecution is met."

Read more: Rolls-Royce shares rise as it admits it's cutting more jobs

The SFO's probe, the largest ever single investigation it has carried out, covered three decades worth of activity across seven countries over claims the engineering firm had paid middlemen to win contracts overseas.

Along with representing Leeson, other highlights of Pollard's CV include acting for the former commercial director of British Airways in relation price fixing allegations, securing an acquittal after the trial collapsed, and property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz, whose successful claim against the SFO resulted in bumper payouts.

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