Civil servants are carrying out an internal inquiry to establish whether the engineering giant Rolls-Royce fraudulently obtained financial support worth hundreds of millions of pounds from the government.
The inquiry was launched after the multinational manufacturer admitted last month it had used multimillion-pound bribes to secure export orders across the world over four decades.
Rolls-Royce has apologised and is paying £671m in penalties after the endemic corruption, implicating senior employees, was exposed by anti-corruption investigators in the UK, US and Brazil.
The internal review is being conducted by officials at the UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s credit agency which gives financial support to British exporters to help them win contracts around the world.
Rolls-Royce is one of the biggest customers of UKEF which extends loans to purchasers and their banks, and guarantees to step in and pay outstanding debts if buyers default on export contracts.
The inquiry is understood to be scrutinising whether Rolls-Royce complied with UKEF’s anti-bribery rules when it received financial support from the credit agency.
UKEF has the power in certain circumstances to force firms to repay money if they have broken the anti-bribery rules. Rolls-Royce said it did not anticipate having to repay money.