Glencore 'to admit' charges related to alleged $25m bribes for oil contracts

·2 min read

A court has heard that a unit of FTSE 100 mining and commodities trader Glencore plans to plead guilty to bribery charges related to oil contracts in Africa.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged Glencore Energy (UK) Ltd with seven offences and said, following a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, that the company had indicated that it would admit them.

The charges follow an SFO investigation which began in December 2019.

It claims to have exposed bribery and corruption in its oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and South Sudan, with the company's agents and employees paying more than $25m (£20m) in bribes to secure preferential access to oil.

The SFO further alleges that the company approved the activity.

Glencore, whose representatives also appeared in court in the United States on Tuesday, had said in February it would
set aside $1.5bn for investigations into bribery and market manipulation relating to some of its operations in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Venezuela.

At the hearing in London, District Judge Michael Snow sent the case to Southwark Crown Court for a further hearing which is scheduled to take place in a month's time.

SFO director Lisa Osofsky said afterwards: "This significant investigation, which the Serious Fraud Office has brought to court in less than three years, is the result of our expertise, our tenacity and the strength of our partnership with the US and other jurisdictions.

"We won't stop fighting serious fraud, bribery and corruption, and we look forward to the next steps in this major prosecution."

Glencore, which is based in Switzerland, is yet to comment but it had previously said that it would release a statement following the hearings.

It told investors earlier on Tuesday that it expected to resolve the legal proceedings.

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