Glencore will ‘admit’ charges over alleged $25m bribes over oil contracts

A court has heard that a unit of FTSE 100 mining and commodities trader Glencore is considering pleading guilty to bribery charges linked to oil deals in Africa.

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

The charges follow an SFO investigation that 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 25 million of dollars (£20m) in bribes to secure preferential access to oil. .

The SFO further alleges that the company approved of the activity.

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

At the hearing in London, District Judge Michael Snow sent the case back to Southwark Crown Court for a rehearing due in a month.

SFO Director Lisa Osofsky said: “This important 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 United States and other jurisdictions.

“We will not stop fighting serious fraud, bribery and corruption, and we look forward to the next steps in this major lawsuit.”

Glencore, which is based in Switzerland, has not yet commented, but previously said it would issue a statement following the hearings.

Earlier on Tuesday, he told investors he planned to resolve the lawsuits.