Dec 5 (Reuters) – Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched an investigation into Glencore concerning “suspicions of bribery,” the company said on Thursday.
Glencore, one of the world’s biggest commodity traders, is already subject to a U.S. Department of Justice enquiry in connection with corruption in Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria.
The SFO confirmed https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2019/12/05/sfo-confirms-investigation-into-suspected-bribery-at-glencore-group-of-companies it was investigating the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons, but said it could not comment further on a live investigation.
Glencore has said it will cooperate with the investigation.
The company’s shares dropped 6% to 223.9 pence following the announcement, pushing it to the bottom of London’s blue-chip index.
Over the course of this year, Glencore’s shares have fallen more than 20%, pressured by broader concerns about safety and sustainability in Democratic Republic of Congo.
CEO Ivan Glasenberg told investors earlier this week he expected to step down next year once a new management team is in place. (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Alistair Smout, Julia Payne and Barbara Lewis in London; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Jane Merriman)
The International Monetary Fund arrived for its first talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2015 as President Felix Tshisekedi seeks to repair relations with the Washington-based institution and fulfill a pledge to fight corruption.
Tshisekedi, who replaced Joseph Kabila after elections in December, last month told delegates while on a visit to Washington that he’d come “to untangle the dictatorial system which was in place.” He told another meeting that Congo’s endemic corruption had “discouraged serious investors.”
“We urge them to do a thorough audit at every level and not to be lenient,” Gilbert Mundela, an adviser to Tshisekedi, said in interview Thursday in the capital, Kinsasha.
Non-government organizations want the IMF to undertake “an independent audit into the management of public companies,” according to a letter addressed to Managing Director Christine Lagarde. They also called for unpublished mining contracts to be made public.
The fund halted a $532 million three-year loan program for Congo seven years ago after the government failed to publish details of a 2011 mining deal. “Opacity in the management of public companies has only increased” since the program ended, according to the letter.
The local organizations singled out state-owned mining company Gecamines, saying its transactions with international investors “are done in darkness.” Advocacy groups such as the Atlanta-based Carter Center and London-based Global Witness say Gecamines failed to account for hundreds of millions of dollars paid to it by partners in copper and cobalt deals. Gecamines rejects the claims.
The 32 organizations are also “worried” about royalties paid to Israeli businessman Dan Gertler from two copper-cobalt mines controlled by Glencore Plc. The contracts enabling Gertler to acquire the royalty streams are unpublished, according to the letter.