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GRAFT: ‘Lifetime Achievement’-winning British-Indian tycoon arrested as part of Rolls Royce bribery investigation

An award-winning British Indian businessman has been arrested in London as part of a bribery investigation involving British engineering giant Rolls Royce.

Sudhir Choudhrie, founder and chairman of C&C Alpha Group, was arrested along with his son Bhanu over claims that the duo acted as intermediaries in multi-billion dollar deals between Rolls Royce and the governments of China and Indonesia.

The Choudhrie's were arrested in a joint operation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), City of London Police and the newly-formed National Crime Agency in dawn raids on Wednesday.

The SFO launched its investigation early last year after a Rolls Royce whistleblower claimed the company paid bribes to Far Eastern governments to secure lucrative aircraft engine contracts.

India-born Sudhir Choudhrie received the 'Lifetime Achievement' award at the Asian Business Awards 2013 organized by the Asian Media and Marketing Group. 

Five years earlier his Delhi-born, US-educated son Bhanu was named 'Asian Entrepreneur of the Year' at the same awards ceremony.

Above: Bhanu Choudhrie

The Choudhrie's head a multi-million dollar business with interests in care homes, hotels, property and the energy sector. 

The younger Choudhrie is thought to be a specialist in advising British companies on deals in emerging markets in South Asia and the Far East. 

Choudhrie Sr was born in India but lives in the affluent Chelsea area of West London.  He is understood to be a major donor to the Liberal Democrats having given more than £1.2 million to the party in personal and corporate donations since 2004. 

Mr Choudhrie and his wife Anita have also been entertained by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg at various official government residences.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg nominated Mr Choudhrie for a seat in the House of Lords last year although he did not make the final list.

On Friday a spokesman for the Choudhries said: ‘The allegations made against Bhanu and Sudhir Choudhrie are strongly denied.  Full co-operation is being given to the authorities.’

It's not the first time Sudhir Choudhrie has been investigated for alleged fraud.

In 2007 India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed he had been paid more than $150,000 (£90,000) in commissions in a contract between the Indian government and an Israeli military contractor.

According to the CBI investigation the illegal payment was made to Mr Choudhrie’s company Magnum International Trading Company (MITCO) for its services in helping arrange a $471 million deal for Israel's Soltam Systems to upgrade the Indian army's Soviet-era artillery pieces.

Mr Choudhrie denied he had ever been involved in arms deals and claimed he had been a victim of a plot to damage his reputation.

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