Glencore fined $1.5bn on bribery and market abuse charges

Glencore was charged with seven counts of bribery linked to its oil operations by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) this week, in a revelation which saw the mining giant fined an eye-watering $1.5 billion.

The FTSE 100 company is set to pay $700 million for US bribery investigations, alongside $485 million contributed to market manipulation investigations, with a certain level of reductions pending settlements in other countries.

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Glencore confirmed it had further agreed to pay a future amount to the UK, and $39.5 million under a resolution signed with the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor’s Office linked to its investigation into the mining firm.

The charges followed an operation opened by the SFO into the company in June 2019, codenamed Operation Azoth, which investigated the group for allegations of corruption.

The SFO pursued the claims with the assistance of the US, alongside Dutch and Swiss prosecutors.

Glencore reportedly indicated that it would plead guilty to all charges at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

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The organisation alleged that agents and employees working for the FTSE 100 miner paid over $25 million in bribes for advanced access to oil, with the knowledge and approval of the group.

The SFO uncovered corruption throughout Glencore’s oil operations in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan and Cameroon.

“We acknowledge the misconduct identified in these investigations and have cooperated with the authorities,” said Glencore CEO Gary Nagle.

“This type of behaviour has no place in Glencore, and the Board, management team and I are very clear about the culture that we want and our commitment to be a responsible and ethical operator wherever we work.”

Glencore chair Kalidas Madhavpeddi added: “Glencore today is not the company it was when the unacceptable practices behind this misconduct occurred.”

Glencore is scheduled to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday 21 June.

“This significant investigation, which the Serious Fraud Office has brought to court in less than three years, is the result of our expertise, our tenacity and the strength of our partnership with the US and other jurisdictions,” said SFO director Lisa Osofsky.

“We won’t stop fighting serious fraud, bribery and corruption, and we look forward to the next steps in this major prosecution.”

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