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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Glencore ordered to pay £281 million over Africa oil bribes

A London crown court has ordered a UK subsidiary of Glencore to pay £281 million over an international bribery scandal.

The mining giant’s agents and employees had given bungs worth £25 million to officials in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast between 2011 and 2016 to get access to oil.

Glencore Energy UK, which is wholly owned by the FTSE 100 company Glencore, pleaded guilty to seven corruption offences in June.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of £182.9m by Judge Peter Fraser at Southwark Crown Court, who also approved £93.5m to be confiscated from the company.

Mr Fraser said the offences showed high culpability for the “highly corrosive” offence.

Glencore received a one-third discount on the fine for pleading guilty to the bribery charges, which were brought by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.  

It is the largest amount that will have ever been recovered through confiscation in the UK, the Serious Fraud Office said.

In addition to the five charges of bribery, the subsidiary admitted charges of failing to prevent agents from using bribes to secure oil contracts in Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan.

The judge said the company “played a leading role in organised and planned unlawful activity”, using agents and corrupting local officials in what was “an abuse of the defendant’s dominant market position”.

For some of the charges, he added, there were not “isolated acts of bribery that occurred on single occasions” but rather “the same techniques were used month after month, for the whole period covered by the relevant count in the indictment”.

Founded in 1974, Glencore is one of the largest multinational commodity trading and mining companies in the world.

Its subsidiaries operate in more than 35 countries, but Glencore’s London office primarily dealt in oil, with one of its crude oil divisions responsible for West Africa.

Glencore has 30 days to make all of the payments.

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