Britains Serious Fraud Office begins probe into Glencore bribery case

08 Décembre, 2019, 07:37 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Share price falls following latest probe into the commodities trader. Image Gianluca Colla  Bloomberg

Commodities company Glencore says it's facing an investigation by the British government's fraud investigator amid suspicions of bribery.

Over the course of this year, Glencore's shares have fallen more than 20%, pressured by broader concerns about safety and sustainability in the DRC.

The company has engaged external legal counsel and forensic experts to assist in responding to the Justice Department and CFTC investigations, Glencore said in posting its half-year results in August.

The SFO confirmed it is 'investigating suspicions of bribery in the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons'. "We believe this clearly will hamper sentiment in what remains a complex investment case for investors".

The language of the UK's investigation, albeit with limited detail, suggests it could be wider in scope, Broda wrote in a research note.

The suit Boeis announced is the latest in a string of bad news for Glencore that has clouded the final stretch of chief executive officer Ivan Glasenberg's tenure. He told investors earlier this week to prepare for more leadership changes and hinted that his own departure may come sooner than previously anticipated. Dealing with the investigations has become a major part of his role. He merged Glencore, a commodities-trading company with Xstrata, one of the world's biggest mining companies, in a $29.5 billion deal that created one of the world's largest coal, copper and zinc producers in 2013. Commodity traders have traditionally been willing to do business in numerous world's most impoverished and corrupt countries.

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"'It's more of the same, but now it's getting attacked from a different angle", said Hunter Hillcoat, a London-based analyst at Investec Securities.

Two sources familiar with the matter said the SFO had recently sought information relating to Glencore's involvement in the DRC and its former business partner, Israeli billionaire businessman Dan Gertler.

Gertler, 45, and Kabila, 48, have been implicated in bribery investigations before, with Gertler hit by U.S. sanctions in 2017 amid allegations that he had used his friendship with Kabila to amass an illicit fortune.

Gertler and Glencore first invested together in a DRC mine in 2007 and also forged close partnerships on other projects.

The Journal reported a year ago that the focus of the Justice Department's probe is Glencore's ties to Mr. Gertler.

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