Glencore admits bribery after SFO corruption probe


A Glencore subsidiary pleaded responsible to a number of counts of bribery on Tuesday after admitting to bribing officers in international locations from Nigeria to Cameroon, marking a uncommon company conviction for corruption.

Lawyers for Glencore Energy UK appeared in entrance of a choose to enter responsible pleas to seven counts of bribery following a Serious Fraud Office probe into one of many world’s largest commodity merchants. The firm can be sentenced in November.

The profitable prosecution is the SFO’s third company conviction below the 2010 Bribery Act and makes Glencore the primary firm to confess to bribing an individual below these guidelines.

The anti-graft company charged Glencore with profit-driven corruption final month in connection to grease operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan. The firm indicated in May that it will plead responsible however solely formally entered the pleas on Tuesday.

The SFO’s investigation revealed Glencore had paid greater than $28mn in bribes to safe preferential entry to grease, elevated cargoes, beneficial grades of oil and preferable supply dates.

The company remains to be weighing prosecutions in opposition to people as a part of an ongoing investigation. The bribery instances have to this point not focused any individuals on the firm, prompting criticism from activist teams.

Glencore stated final month it has strengthened compliance procedures in recent times and that it’s “not the company it was”.

The firm on Tuesday admitted to expenses together with that it paid €10.5mn to induce sure officers of Cameroon’s Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures and the Société Nationale de Raffinage to achieve benefit for Glencore’s operations within the nation.

It additionally admitted to paying €4.7mn in bribes between July 2011 and April 2016 to affect officers to favour the corporate in oil transactions in Ivory Coast.

The conviction follows a string of worldwide investigations into the corporate. Last month Glencore agreed to pay $1.1bn in fines and forfeiture to US authorities following a legal probe, and $40mn to Brazilian authorities.

Glencore has pleaded responsible in two separate legal instances within the US. One concerned what prosecutors described as a decade-long bribery scheme whereas within the second, Glencore’s US commodities buying and selling arm pleaded responsible to participating in an eight-year scheme to govern US gas oil worth benchmarks.

The firm doesn’t but know what it should pay within the UK and can discover out when it’s sentenced in November.

Anti-corruption group Spotlight on Corruption stated the responsible pleas had been “hugely significant as a major corporate bribery conviction” however added it was “critical that the court impose a fine that reflects the staggering scale and seriousness of this corporate criminality, otherwise companies like Glencore will simply write this off as the cost of doing business”.

The SFO’s different bribery convictions in opposition to corporations embody a case in opposition to Petrofac final 12 months through which the oilfield companies group pleaded responsible to failing to stop senior executives from bribing officers to win contracts in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The SFO additionally secured a responsible plea from skilled companies firm Sweett Group in 2016.

The company has extra generally turned to deferred prosecution agreements in such instances, through which corporations pay a effective with a purpose to keep away from legal prosecutions. The SFO has agreed such offers with corporations together with Rolls-Royce and Airbus.

Glencore revealed final week that it anticipated to make more cash in six months than it usually generates from its advertising enterprise in a whole 12 months as commodity merchants revenue from hovering costs and volatility following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.