Tommy Suharto, the son of Indonesia's late president, has contacted the Serious Fraud Office in London to deny allegations that he was bribed by Rolls-Royce to persuade an Indonesian airline to buy the UK company's engines.
Lawyers for Suharto have written to the SFO's director David Green stating that he was never given $20m (£12.4m) and a Rolls-Royce car to encourage the Garuda airline to buy Trent 700 engines in 1990.
Suharto's lawyers, the Indonesian firm Elza Syarief, said in a statement that the letter "stated categorically that 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".
The firm added: "The SFO has not contacted Rolls-Royce, Garuda or Mr Suharto and there is no legal case or investigation, pending or otherwise, in relation to these false allegations."
A London-based spokesman for Elza Syarief said the purpose of the letter, which was sent last week, was to set the record straight and to quash misconceptions about Suharto.
Last year, the SFO ordered Rolls-Royce to hand over details of possible bribery and corruption in China, Indonesia and other overseas markets and to conduct an internal inquiry into the claims.
Dick Taylor, a former Rolls-Royce employee in Indonesia, alleged via a series of online postings that Suharto, the youngest son of the former Indonesian president who died in 2008, was bribed by Rolls-Royce. Taylor has said he felt "cheated" by his experience at Rolls-Royce, the world's second largest aircraft engine maker, based in Derbyshire.
He said he was warned that he risked losing his job when he raised concerns over a colleague's expenses claims. Taylor subsequently took early retirement in 2004 but claims that Rolls-Royce was still making payments to intermediaries in Indonesia in 2010.
Rolls-Royce then faced further allegations that it paid bribes to an executive involved with two Chinese airlines.
The later allegations were made in postings by a blogger operating under the pseudonym of "soaringdragon" and related to deals worth a total of $2bn with Air China in 2005 and China Eastern in 2010.
Rolls-Royce said its own investigation through law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, found "matters of concern" in Indonesia and China and other unspecified markets over "concerns about bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in overseas markets".
The Asia-Pacific region is a vital market for western aerospace companies targeting new customers as demand stagnates at home. According to Airbus, the region will account for 35% of aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years, with China overtaking the US as the world's largest domestic airline market from 2031 onwards.
As well as bringing opportunities for aircraft makers such as Airbus and Boeing, new jet sales also boost orders for engines. The frontrunners for those orders are Rolls-Royce and its US rivals, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
Rolls-Royce and the SFO could not be reached for comment.
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