Glencore Has to Pay Millions Over African Oil Bribes

Aerial view of oil and gas terminal storage tank farm.

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Glencore Has to Pay Millions Over African Oil Bribes

The mining giant has been ordered to pay over $ 314 million in fines for bribing officials in African countries to access crude oil.

Glencore Energy UK has been ordered to pay more than $ 314 million in fines after it bribed officials who worked in several African countries between 2011 and 2016. The company reportedly paid $26 million to the officials from countries like Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and South Sudan. Prosecutors stated that UK-based Glencore agents used private jets to funnel the cash that would fund the bribes.

According to a report from the UK government's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the money was used to guarantee top-grade access to larger cargoesand higher oil grades. The SFO brought the case against Glencore Energy UK and stated that the fine was the biggest that had ever been handed out for a corporate criminal conviction in the UK.

According to the SFO, between 2012 and 2015, an employee of the UK company and a representative from one of the Nigerian oil companies withdrew a total of $13.7 million in cash from Glencore's Swiss cash bank. The cash was then transported on a private jet to Cameroon, where it was used to bribe officials in the country's national oil and gas companies. Earlier in June, the conglomerate pleaded guilty to seven counts of bribery at a London court. The judgment of $ 314 million was announced on Thursday and included fines, legal costs, and confiscation of the profit Glencore made from its bribes.

The United States Department of Justice launched an investigation in 2018 to examine Glencore's compliance with US money laundering and corruption laws dating back to 2007. The query specifically highlighted concerns about the company's dealings in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Venezuela. In 2019, UK's SFO started its own investigation into the UK subsidiary of Glencore over what it stated as "suspicions of bribery" in Africa.

In a statement, Clare Montgomery, a representative for Glencore, said that the company regretted its actions.
"The company unreservedly regrets the harm caused by these offences and recognises the harm caused, both at national and public levels in the African states concerned, as well as the damage caused to others," Montgomery said.