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Article

24 May 2022

Author:
The United States Department of Justice

Glencore admitted guilt in relation to foreign bribery and schemes involving market manipulation

See all tags Allegations

"Glencore Entered Guilty Pleas to Foreign Bribery and Market Manipulation Schemes", 24 May 2022

"Glencore International A.G. (Glencore) and Glencore Ltd., both part of a multi-national commodity trading and mining firm headquartered in Switzerland, each pleaded guilty today and agreed to pay over $1.1 billion to resolve the government’s investigations into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and a commodity price manipulation scheme.

These guilty pleas are part of coordinated resolutions with criminal and civil authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil...

The charges in the FCPA matter arise out of a decade-long scheme by Glencore and its subsidiaries to make and conceal corrupt payments and bribes through intermediaries for the benefit of foreign officials across multiple countries. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Glencore has agreed to a criminal fine of more than $428 million and to criminal forfeiture and disgorgement of more than $272 million. Glencore has also agreed to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years. The department has agreed to credit nearly $256 million in payments that Glencore makes to resolve related parallel investigations by other domestic and foreign authorities....

“Glencore’s guilty pleas demonstrate the Department’s commitment to holding accountable those who profit by manipulating our financial markets and engaging in corrupt schemes around the world,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In the foreign bribery case, Glencore International A.G. and its subsidiaries bribed corrupt intermediaries and foreign officials in seven countries for over a decade. In the commodity price manipulation scheme, Glencore Ltd. undermined public confidence by creating the false appearance of supply and demand to manipulate oil prices.”...

Between approximately 2007 and 2018, Glencore and its subsidiaries caused approximately $79.6 million in payments to be made to intermediary companies in order to secure improper advantages to obtain and retain business with state-owned and state-controlled entities in the West African countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea. Glencore concealed the bribe payments by entering into sham consulting agreements, paying inflated invoices, and using intermediary companies to make corrupt payments to foreign officials. For example, in Nigeria, Glencore and Glencore’s U.K. subsidiaries entered into multiple agreements to purchase crude oil and refined petroleum products from Nigeria’s state-owned and state-controlled oil company. Glencore and its subsidiaries engaged two intermediaries to pursue business opportunities and other improper business advantages, including the award of crude oil contracts, while knowing that the intermediaries would make bribe payments to Nigerian government officials to obtain such business. In Nigeria alone, Glencore and its subsidiaries paid more than $52 million to the intermediaries, intending that those funds be used, at least in part, to pay bribes to Nigerian officials.

In the DRC, Glencore admitted that it conspired to and did corruptly offer and pay approximately $27.5 million to third parties, while intending for a portion of the payments to be used as bribes to DRC officials, in order to secure improper business advantages. Glencore also admitted to the bribery of officials in Brazil and Venezuela. In Brazil, the company caused approximately $147,202 to be used, at least in part, as corrupt payments for Brazilian officials. In Venezuela, Glencore admitted to conspiring to secure and securing improper business advantages by paying over $1.2 million to an intermediary company that made corrupt payments for the benefit of a Venezuelan official.

In July 2021, a former senior trader in charge of Glencore’s West Africa desk for the crude oil business pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering....

The department reached its agreement with Glencore based on a number of factors, including the nature, seriousness, and pervasiveness of the offense conduct, which spanned over a 10-year period, in numerous countries, and involved high-level employees and agents of the company; the company’s failure to voluntarily and timely disclose the conduct to the department; the state of Glencore’s compliance program and the progress of its remediation; the company’s resolutions with other domestic and foreign authorities; and the company’s continued cooperation with the department’s ongoing investigation."