Glencore pleads guilty to bribery in connection with African oil operations |  Glencore

Glencore pleads guilty to bribery in connection with African oil operations | Glencore

Glencore pleads guilty to bribery in connection with African oil operations |  Glencore

Commodity trader Glencore has pleaded guilty in a London court to seven bribery charges related to its oil operations in several African countries.

The Serious Fraud Office, which had filed a complaint against the FTSE 100-listed company after an investigation, said the hearing would take place on November 2 and 3.

Last month, Glencore Energy UK said it would pay a $1.1 billion US settlement, and indicated it would plead guilty in the UK. The SFO had formally charged the company in London’s Westminster Magistrates Court with bribery for preferential access to oil between 2011 and 2016. The case was then sent to the Southwark Higher Court for Tuesday’s plea hearing.

The SFO said on Tuesday: “Glencore Energy (UK) Ltd has been convicted today of all bribery charges brought against her by the Serious Fraud Office. At the Crown Court in Southwark, the company admitted that it had paid several bribes to gain access to oil and generate illegal profits.

“The SFO’s investigation revealed that Glencore, through its employees and agents, paid bribes in excess of $28 million for preferential access to oil, including larger loads, valuable oil grades and preferred dates of delivery. These actions were approved by the company for all of its oil operations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan.”

US and UK authorities opened investigations into alleged bribery and corruption in Glencore’s oil operations in 2018 and 2019 respectively. In February, Glencore said it had set aside $1.5 billion to cover potential fines and costs related to the investigations in the UK, US and Brazil. While significant, that amount was well below the $4 billion that Glencore said would be returned to shareholders after record profits.

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The US Attorney General said last month that the $1.1 billion settlement agreed with Glencore would resolve both a 10-year plan to bribe foreign officials in seven countries, and separate criminal and civil charges for the fact that one of the company’s trade weapons was manipulating fuel oil prices against two of the largest U.S. shipping ports.

Glencore has agreed to pay approximately $40 million to settle bribery allegations in Brazil — nearly $30 million to Brazilian state oil company Petrobras as compensation for defrauding the company, and about $10 million to Brazilian authorities in civil fines , prosecutors said.

Dutch and Swiss authorities are also investigating alleged misconduct, some of which is believed to be related to operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.