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Suharto denies Rolls-Royce bribery allegations

A TRADE VISITOR CHAT WITH ROLLS-ROYCE REPRESENTATIVE AT THE BIENNIAL ASIAN AEROSPACE 2004 AIRSHOW IN SINGAPORE. A trade visitor chats with a
A TRADE VISITOR CHAT WITH ROLLS-ROYCE REPRESENTATIVE AT THE BIENNIAL ASIAN AEROSPACE 2004 AIRSHOW IN SINGAPORE. A trade visitor chats with a

LONDON (Reuters) - Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of Indonesia's late president, on Monday denied allegations that he received bribes from British aerospace group Rolls-Royce in return for recommending their engines to Indonesian airline Garuda .

Rolls-Royce, the world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines, was last year ordered by Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to hand over details of possible bribery and corruption in China, Indonesia and other overseas markets and conduct an internal inquiry into the claims.

Late last year British newspapers reported allegations from a former Rolls-Royce employee that Suharto had received $20 million and a Rolls-Royce car to persuade Garuda to order Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines in 1990.

In a letter sent to SFO director David Green on Monday, Elza Syarief, lawyers for Tommy Suharto, said "categorically ... he (Suharto) did not, and has never, received monies or a car from Rolls-Royce and nor did he recommend their engines to Garuda, as alleged".

"These accusations are false and have arisen, it appears, via internet comments posted by an ex-employee, not through any formal source," the letter added.

The law firm also said the SFO had not contacted Rolls-Royce, Garuda or Suharto and that there was no legal case or investigation underway or pending in relation to the allegations.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

An SFO spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter.

Earlier this year Rolls-Royce appointed lawyer David Gold to lead a review of its compliance procedures after the allegations emerged.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by Pravin Char)

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