Glencore admitted paying bribes totaling more than $28 million for privileged access to oil in S. Sudan and other African countries
Glencore pleaded guilty to paying bribes totaling more than $28 million for privileged access to oil, including extra cargoes, valuable grades of oil, and preferred delivery dates for its oil activities in South Sudan and other African countries.
Glencore’s subsidiary has pleaded guilty in a London court to seven charges of bribery connected to its oil business in different African nations.
The Serious Fraud Office, which had initiated charges against the FTSE 100-listed business after an inquiry, said that the sentencing hearing will take place on November 2 and 3.
Glencore said last month that it would pay a $1.1 billion (£900 million) US settlement and would plead guilty in the UK. The SFO has accused the corporation of bribery for privileged access to oil between 2011 and 2016 before Westminster Magistrates Court in London. The case was then transferred to the higher Southwark crown court for the Tuesday plea hearing.
“Glencore Energy (UK) Ltd has now been convicted on all bribery allegations filed against it by the Serious Fraud Office,” the SFO stated on Tuesday. The business is guilty of seven charges of paying bribes to acquire access to oil and create criminal profit before Southwark Crown Court.
“The SFO investigation revealed that Glencore, via its employees and agents, paid bribes totaling more than $28 million for privileged access to oil, including extra cargoes, valuable grades of oil, and preferred delivery dates.” The business accepted these moves for its oil activities in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and South Sudan.”
In 2018, and 2019, respectively, US and UK authorities launched investigations into suspected bribery and corruption at Glencore’s oil activities. Glencore said in February that it has put aside $1.5 billion to cover any penalties and expenses associated with the investigations in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Brazil. While considerable, it was significantly less than the $4 billion that Glencore said would be distributed to shareholders following record earnings.
Glencore said it had nothing to add to its May 24 announcement that the payments to settle the probes were “not anticipated to deviate considerably” from the $1.5 billion contingency. The company said at the time that it had cooperated with inquiries in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil, and that it had made “significant expenditures” to strengthen its ethics and compliance procedures. It further said that personnel implicated in the violation had been fired or reprimanded.
Last month, the US attorney general announced that the $1.1 billion settlement reached with Glencore would resolve both a decade-long scheme to bribe foreign officials in seven countries, as well as separate criminal and civil charges alleging that one of the company’s trading arms manipulated fuel oil prices at two of the largest US shipping ports.
According to prosecutors, Glencore has agreed to pay approximately $40 million to settle bribery allegations in Brazil – nearly $30 million to the state-run Brazilian oil company Petrobras in compensation for defrauding the company, and approximately $10 million to Brazilian authorities in civil penalties.
Dutch and Swiss officials are also looking into allegations of criminality, some of which may be tied to activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Glencore’s guilty pleas today are hugely significant as a major corporate bribery conviction,” said Helen Taylor, a legal researcher at the Spotlight on Corruption campaign group. “However, it’s now critical that the court impose a fine that reflects the staggering scale and seriousness of this corporate criminality, or companies like Glencore will simply write this off as the cost of doing business.”
“At sentencing, Glencore’s commitment to pay victims of corporate misconduct in West Africa must be prioritized.” If the SFO intends to guarantee effective deterrence and true responsibility for corporate misconduct, the bottom line is that the top executives who supported the bribery scheme must now be probed and punished.”
“Glencore now is not the corporation it was when the improper practices that led to this misbehavior happened,” Glencore chair Kalidas Madhavpeddi said in May.