Glencore pays $1bn settlement to US authorities after admitting bribery in UK court
Commodity trader Glencore has agreed to pay more than $1bn to US and Brazilian authorities to settle corruption investigations, after indicating it will plea guilty to bribery charges in the UK.
Glencore said it will pay a combined sum of $1.06bn to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and a further $39.6m to Brazil’s Federal Prosecutors Office, to settle charges of bribery and market manipulation.
The settlements come after Glencore’s UK unit indicated it will also plea guilty to bribery charges brought by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, after the investigator charged the firm’s UK unit with five counts of bribery and another two counts of failing to prevent bribery.
The company is now set to appear at Southwark Crown Court court for a sentencing hearing on the 21st of June. It remains currently unclear as to whether any individuals will be charged as part of the UK case. However, the SFO said its investigation is still ongoing.
The settlements come after the mining giant said in February that it had set aside $1.5bn to settle the corruption cases brought against it by UK, US, and Brazilian authorities.
The SFO first launched its investigation into the firm – dubbed Operation Azoth – in 2019, over claims it paid out $25m in bribes to win oil contracts in Cameroon, South Sudan, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea.
SFO director Lisa Osofsky said: “This significant investigation, which the SFO 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.”
Glencore chairman Kalidas Madhavpeddi claimed Glencore “is not the company it was when the unacceptable misconduct behind this misconduct occurred.”
The SFO probe came after the US Department of Justice (DoJ) launched a parallel corruption probe, in relation to Glencore’s operations in Nigeria, Venezuela, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in 2018.
In 2019, Brazilian prosecutors also launched an investigation into the firm as part of its sweeping “Lava Jato” anti-corruption probe, which has resulted in jail sentences for hundreds of politicians, executives, and dealmakers.
Glencore also said it would be continuing to cooperate with Swiss and Dutch investigators, following the Attorney General of Switzerland’s decision to launch an investigation into Glencore’s activities in 2020.