Glencore charged over alleged bribery in Africa

The company had previously set aside around £1.2 billion to deal with the results of the probes in several countries.

Glencore’s shares are traded in London (Aaron Chown/PA)
Glencore’s shares are traded in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore with seven counts of bribery after a years-long probe into its activities in Africa.

At a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, a UK subsidiary of the company – Glencore Energy (UK) Ltd – indicated it will plead guilty to the charges.

Glencore is also set to appear in court in the US later in the day, where it will plead guilty, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“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

Lisa Osofsky, Serious Fraud Office

The London-listed miner has previously set aside 1.5 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) to cover the investigations it faces in the US, the UK and Brazil.

“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.”

The SFO’s investigators opened a corruption probe against Glencore in December 2019.

They claim to have exposed bribery and corruption in its oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and South Sudan.

Lawyers for the fraud office will argue that Glencore’s agents and employees paid more than 25 million dollars (£20 million) in bribes to get preferential access to oil, and that the company approved it.

The UK charges, dated between July 2011 and April 2016, are brought under the Bribery Act 2010.

Two relate to failure of the organisation to prevent bribery, while the other five allege the company gave a financial advantage to another, with the intention of inducing officials to perform their functions improperly.

The charges allege the financial advantage amounted to more than six million US dollars and more than 15 million euros.

District Judge Michael Snow sent the case to Southwark Crown Court, with the next hearing scheduled for June 21.

Prior to appearing in court, Glencore said: “We expect to resolve our US, UK and Brazilian investigations this year; Glencore will appear in court in the United States and United Kingdom later today in connection with proposed resolutions of the relevant investigations.

“Glencore expects to issue an announcement following the conclusion of these court hearings.”

In the US, the miner or one of its subsidiaries is expected to plead guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

It has also faced a market manipulation probe in the US.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in