A&O launches IMI probe

Allen & Overy (A&O) is advising IMI, one of the UK’s biggest engineering groups, on an internal corruption investigation.

IMI kick-started the internal investigation after suspecting some of its sales agents in South East Asia, East Asia and the Middle East were offering sweeteners to the company’s customers.

The magic circle firm will be working alongside the US Department of Justice, the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency and Ernst & Young to uncover the truth. Litigation partner Arnondo Chakrabarti is to lead for A&O.

The company believes that its US subsidiary CCI may also be implicated in up to £30m of tainted funds.

CCI’s external agents in countries such as China or Saudi Arabia are paid commission for finding local customers.

According to IMI, since the turn of the century, an unknown proportion of these agents transferred part of their commission payments to employees of the companies that had agreed business with CCI.

In a statement IMI said it “is committed to the highest ethical standards and has retained external counsel and forensic accountants to conduct a thorough independent investigation, which will result in appropriate action being taken, including a number of employee suspensions”.