The former chief financial officer of Rio Tinto has stood down from his role as a non-executive director at Shell amid allegations of fraud during his time at the mining giant.
Guy Elliott resigned this morning with immediate effect after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged him, Rio Tinto and the company's former chief executive Thomas Albanese with fraud late last night.
The SEC said they had inflated the value of coal assets in Mozambique and concealed critical information from Rio's board of directors, audit committee, independent auditors and the market.
The UK's Financial Conduct Authority simultaneously hit the miner with a £27m fine to settle claims it breached accounting rules in connection with the Mozambique assets.
Rio Tinto has said it will "vigorously defend itself against these allegations".
In a statement, the miner said:
Rio Tinto believes that the SEC case is unwarranted and that, when all the facts are considered by the court, or if necessary by a jury, the SEC’s claims will be rejected.
Charles Holliday, chair of Shell's board, said Elliott was welcome to rejoin if the proceedings were "satisfactorily resolved".
“We fully respect and appreciate Guy’s decision which is related to his involvement in legal proceedings regarding his former employment at Rio Tinto," he said.
"We will miss his insightful counsel and leadership and would like to thank him for his seven years of valuable contribution to the Shell board.
"We sincerely hope he satisfactorily resolves those proceedings and, that in that event, he would like to be considered for rejoining the board."