Graft busters 'identify Rolls-Royce suspects'

Graft busters 'identify Rolls-Royce suspects'

No suspects have been named in Britain or in Thailand in the bribery scandal.
No suspects have been named in Britain or in Thailand in the bribery scandal.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) says certain people identified by the auditor-general as being involved in the alleged Rolls-Royce bribery are believed to be the same as those the agency suspected of having a hand in the scandal.

NACC secretary-general Sansern Poljeak said he believed the names suggested by Auditor-General Pisit Leelavachiropas on Sunday were the same ones about whom the NACC has attained information relating to the alleged bribery.

Mr Sansern was referring to Mr Pisit's mention of at least three people by their initials who were allegedly connected to the scandal, implicating former people in power at Thai Airways International (THAI) and some figures in previous governments.

According to Mr Pisit, two of the three names begin with the initials "Gor" and the other with a "Sor". The names have been linked to the early stages of the alleged bribery in 1991.

Rolls-Royce has admitted bribing Thai state agents and employees of THAI. Spanning from 1991 to 2005, the scandal involves kickbacks totalling 1.28 billion baht, which were allegedly paid to help the British firm secure deals with the carrier.

The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has revealed 12 counts in which Rolls-Royce had engaged in corrupt acts or failed to prevent bribery in seven countries -- Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia. The bribery case in Thailand involved the purchase of engines for THAI aircraft.

Mr Sansern said he believed although the three people's initials matched the identities of suspects whom the NACC was investigating, the investigation has not found detailed information at this point to specify what those in question had done to contribute to the alleged bribery.

Mr Sansern added the NACC has acquired a reasonable amount of information on the bribery. Once the NACC has enough solid information, it will set up a sub-panel to conduct the probe.

He said they are waiting to hear from the SFO and cannot say if they will receive a response.

He said he understood the SFO must also seek approval from higher authorities on how much information it can release.

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