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Mining Giant Settles Criminal Probes

Allegations of bribery and corruption have dogged the company for years.

Switzerland-based commodity trading and mining company Glencore  (GLCNF)  is looking to settle two different long-standing criminal probes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2018, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation into a unit of the company. 

The company was then charged with seven counts of bribery in connection to payments of $24 million for preferential access to oil in Africa. 

Glencore said May 24 that it will plead guilty to those U.K. charges.

The SFO said that its investigations exposed bribery and corruption across the company’s oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan.

It also said that Glencore’s agents and employees paid bribes for “preferential access to crude with the approval of the company.”

Anthony Stimler, a U.K. citizen, was allegedly involved from 2013 to 2015 “in funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to intermediaries to smooth Glencore’s access to Nigerian oil," according to court records.

It has been alleged that Stimler worked with co-conspirators that included former Glencore traders.

The company declined to comment further on the SFO charges, and the sentencing is set to take place on June 21.

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Glencore Also Looks to Settle U.S. Investigation 

The company is also reportedly set to plead guilty in the United States to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

In 2018, the company was subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice "to produce documents and other records with respect to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United States money laundering statutes."

A former Glencore trader pleaded guilty last July “to conspiring to launder money and pay millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Nigeria and elsewhere in exchange for favorable contracts with a state-owned oil company.” 

That is a violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In addition to the bribery charges, Glencore has been undergoing an U.S. market manipulation probe, and a former Glencore oil trader pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to manipulate a fuel-oil benchmark. 

The company is expected to settle.

The company disclosed that it has set aside $1.5 billion to cover the costs of settlements in the U.S. and U.K., as well as an investigation from the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

Glencore is also being investigated by Swiss and Dutch authorities.

The company’s former Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.