United Kingdom fraud office opens Glencore bribery probe

Andrew Cummings
December 8, 2019

Britain's top financial cop said it is investigating Glencore PLC for alleged bribery, sending shares of the mining and commodities trading giant down nearly 9% and adding to U.S, . regulatory woes that have weighed on the company all year.

The SFO said it "confirms it is investigating suspicions of bribery in the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons", but would add no other detail. It didn't elaborate. Glencore also disclosed the probe in a statement on Thursday. The investigation comes on the back of overlapping inquiries in the U.S. and Canada that have helped drive Glencore's stock down in the past 18 months.

The firm has already seen its shares fall more than 20% this year as a result of broader concerns about safety and sustainability in DRC.

The DOJ is probing Glencore over money laundering related to its operations in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo, while the CFTC is probing Glencore over potential corrupt practices linked to commodities.

It said at the time that investigators at the SFO were planning to seek formal approval for a full probe into Glencore's dealings in Congo.

"Glencore will co-operate with the SFO investigation", it said. Canada's regulatory authorities fined a Glencore-controlled subsidiary a year ago after allegations of inadequate financial disclosures in the DRC.

Glencore provided almost $1 billion in loans and advances to companies associated with Mr. Gertler in a roughly 10-year period starting in 2007, according to documents reviewed earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal.

Gertler and Glencore first invested together in a Congolese mine in 2007 and developed a close partnership over the years in the Mutanda and Katanga Mining copper and cobalt operations.

A spokesman for Glencore declined to comment.

The suit Boeis announced is the latest in a string of bad news for Glencore that has clouded the final stretch of chief executive officer Ivan Glasenberg's tenure. He told investors earlier this week to prepare for more leadership changes and hinted that his own departure may come sooner than previously anticipated.

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