Glencore pleads guilty to bribery

A subsidiary of Swiss-based mining giant Glencore, has pleaded guilty to seven counts of bribery in a London court.

The company admitted to paying more than US$25 million in bribes in Africa for preferential access to oil, and to bribery in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan. Glencore, which has said it has since made large investments in its ethics and compliance structures, is still subject to unresolved investigations by Swiss and Dutch authorities.


U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, presented some of the findings of the American probe: “Glencore paid over $100 million in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela. The bribery scheme here spanned the globe. Glencore paid bribes to secure oil contracts. Glencore paid bribes to avoid government audits. Glencore paid bribes to judges to make lawsuits disappear. Why did Glencore do it? They did it to make money. Hundreds of millions of dollars. And they did it with the approval and even the encouragement of top executives.”

The mining firm will pay US $1.5 billion as part of a settlement with U.S., U.K. and Brazilian authorities to resolve the long-standing corruption probes.

“Glencore has agreed to pay approximately $700 million in penalties for its decade long scheme to bribe foreign officials in seven different countries. The second plea involves Glencore’s U.S. commodities trading arm, Glencore Limited, which engaged in a scheme to manipulate fuel oil prices at two of the busiest commercial shipping ports in the United States over the course of eight years. Glencore has agreed to pay approximately $485 million in penalties. This represents the Justice Department’s largest criminal enforcement action to date for a commodity price manipulation conspiracy in oil markets,” said U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland.


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