Exclusive: Pratt's F135 engine chief, other employees leave after ethics issue - sources

Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:37pm EST
 
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By Andrea Shalal

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ten employees of United Technologies Corp's (UTX.N: Quote) Pratt & Whitney unit, including the head of its F135 engine program, have left the company after an internal audit uncovered an ethics issue linked to a visit by a South Korean delegation, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Three sources said the ethics problem occurred during a business trip by South Korean military officials to the United States several years ago but only came to light in an internal audit launched in 2016.

It involved a breach of Pratt's strict ethics guidelines, but no violation of U.S. export control or anti-bribery laws, according to two of the sources.

The issue centers on Pratt's rental of a van to transport the South Korean officials during a 2012 visit to the company's West Palm Beach facility in Florida, an expense deemed inappropriate under the company's ethics rules, which are more rigorous than U.S. law, said another source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Two sources said investigators asked whether Pratt employees had arranged, but not paid for, what one of the sources described as "inappropriate entertainment."

Reuters was unable to determine what conclusions were reached by the company's investigators.

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The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company United Technologies and their subsidiary Pratt & Whitney is pictured in San Diego, California April 21, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake