Glencore pleaded guilty in June to five counts of bribery, and twoThe bribery was first detected by the FBI in 2017, and Glencore agreed in May to pay $1.1bn to US authorities for violations of bribery laws and commodity price manipulation. counts of failing to prevent bribery brought by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Glencore flew cash bribes to officials in Africa via private jet amid “endemic” corruption within the mining company.
Third-party agents used Glencore’s money to bribe officials in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan. The company played a “leading role in organised, planned, illegal activity” that was “authorised at a senior level”. A Glencore trader withdrew a total of €6.3m (£5.4m) in cash from the company’s cash desk in Baar, Switzerland, to fund bribes on 25 separate occasions between 2012 and 2015. Those withdrawals had to be signed off by senior employees, one of whom was a Glencore “business ethics officer” and the other who was a member of the company’s “business ethics committee”.
In South Sudan, Glencore officials travelled by private jet to the country shortly after its independence in 2011 with $800,000 in cash. That cash was falsely described as for “opening office in South Sudan, cash for office infrastructure, salaries, cars etc”, but was instead handed to agents who used it to bribe officials. “Within days of the arrival of the cash in Juba on 2 August 2011, Glencore’s fortunes changed” and it gained valuable contracts.