A British subsidiary of mining and trading giant Glencore formally pleaded guilty to seven counts of bribery in connection with oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Glencore Energy admitted to paying more than $28 million in bribes to secure preferential access to oil and generate illicit profit between 2011 and 2016. The company will be sentenced on Nov. 2 and 3, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). But the guilty plea by a corporate heavyweight in London is a much-needed boost for the SFO, which has faced sharp criticism and awaits the outcome of a “forensic” government-ordered review after senior judges overturned two convictions in a separate case because of disclosure failings.
U.S. authorities will account for the bulk of penalties after Glencore agreed to a $1.1 billion U.S. settlement last month to resolve a decade-long scheme to bribe foreign officials across seven countries – and separate charges alleging a trading division manipulated fuel oil prices at U.S. shipping ports.
The company still faces Swiss and Dutch investigations. But after sweeping changes that culminated in the exit of CEO and top shareholder Ivan Glasenberg in 2021, the November sentencing will wrap up a multinational inquiry that has weighed on the business for more than four years.