US Investigates Glencore over Alleged Corruption in Nigeria, Others

The United States authorities have demanded the US arm of Glencore Plc to hand over documents relating to its business in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Venezuela.

The Swiss-based commodities trader and miner said yesterday, that it received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice requesting documents and records on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and US money-laundering statutes.

Glencore, a major exporter of Nigerian and Venezuelan crude oil, was among the 50 local and international oil traders that won NNPC’s crude oil lifting contracts that would run from July 1, 2018 to June 2020.

Each of the 50 companies would lift 950,000 barrels of crude oil in the two-year contracts.

The documents requested by the US authorities from the subsidiary Glencore Limited relate to the group’s business in the three countries from 2007 to 2018, Glencore was quoted as saying, adding it was reviewing the subpoena.

The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it a crime for companies to bribe overseas officials to win business.

Glencore accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s cobalt output, most of it from Congo, which itself is the source of around 60 per cent of global supplies.

Reuters reported that Washington had slammed sanctions on 13 “human rights abusers and corrupt actors” in December last year, including Israeli billionaire, Dan Gertler, who was Glencore’s former partner in the DRC and is a close friend of Congo’s president.

Glencore said last month it had agreed to pay Gertler royalties it still owed in euros instead of US dollars after litigation threats.

In May, Bloomberg reported that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office was investigating Glencore’s activities in the DRC.

Separately, the US Department of Justice has been investigating bribery plots involving payments to Venezuela’s state oil firm, PDVSA and charged five individuals last year.

Washington has also been progressively adding individuals close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to its sanctions list and has weighed broader penalties to hit the OPEC country’s oil industry.

Glencore’s founder, Marc Rich, was indicted in 1983 for exploiting the US embargo against Iran, tax evasion, fraud and racketeering.

He reportedly fled to Switzerland, where he remained a fugitive pursued by the Department of Justice until he was pardoned by then-president Bill Clinton in 2001.



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