BHP facing charges from US over Beijing Games 'corruption'

 

London-listed mining giant BHP Billiton today said it has been warned it could face enforcement action by US authorities over alleged breaches of anti-corruption laws. The move relates partly to corporate hospitality it laid on for the Beijing Olympics.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and US Department of Justice have been investigating BHP since 2009 over exploration projects that have been terminated and hospitality given at the Beijing Games in 2008, where the miner was a major sponsor and supplier of the metals for the medals.

“As a part of the US process, the SEC and DoJ have recently notified the group of the issues they consider could form the basis of enforcement actions and discussions are continuing,” BHP said.

“The issues relate primarily to matters in connection with previously terminated exploration and development efforts, as well as hospitality provided as part of the company’s sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.” It said it could not comment on what the possible outcome of the enforcement might be, or the scale of penalty. It could face multi-million-dollar fines.

French oil major Total recently agreed to pay $398 million (£256 million) to settle US criminal and civil allegations that it paid $60 million in bribes to win oil and gas contracts in Iran over a nine-year period.

Levels of penalty for breaching the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act vary depending on the length of time and depth of the violations, the financial benefits made by the company and its co-operation with the authorities during an investigation.

Medical supplies maker Smith & Nephew last year paid $22.2 million to settle a claim that one of its subsidiaries had bribed a Greek distributor. In 2010, BAE Systems paid almost $500 million to the DoJ and the Serious Fraud Office to settle allegations of long-standing bribes paid to Saudi officials among others.

The Australian authorities are also investigating BHP’s dealings with foreign officials, including Chinese dignitaries who attended the Games.

Other issues reportedly under scrutiny include payments to Cambodian officials in 2006 over a bauxite project that BHP eventually dropped.

The mining company said: “BHP Billiton is fully committed to operating with integrity, and the group’s policies specifically prohibit engaging in unethical conduct.

“BHP Billiton has what it considers to be a world-class anti-corruption compliance programme. The group is fully co-operating with the relevant authorities, as it has since the US investigations commenced.”

BHP has said previously that it believed it had complied with all applicable laws in regards to its Olympics sponsorship.

The news came ahead of the first presentation of BHP’s results next Tuesday by its new chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee