Switzerland-based mining company Glencore has said it will pay USD 180 million to the Democratic Republic of Congo to settle corruption claims. The Congo payout is the latest in a series of corruption cases which has seen Glencore agree to pay out more than USD 1.6 billion in fines this year. Despite the fines, Glencore is expected to make record profits of around USD 3.2 billion this year.
The mining firm said the settlement with the Congolese government would cover “all present and future claims arising from any alleged acts of corruption” by the Glencore group between 2007 and 2018.
Glencore is one of the world’s largest commodities companies, employing around 135,000 people in more than 35 countries.
In May, the US Department of Justice said that Glencore had admitted to corruptly conspiring to pay around USD 27.5 million to third parties to secure “improper business advantages” in the DRC, while “intending a portion of the payments to be used as bribes”.
Also in May, the company admitted to paying millions in bribes to officials in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Sudan, Brazil and Venezuela.
Why it matters
Remarking on the culture that developed at Glencore, Mr Justice Fraser said that “bribery was accepted as part of the West Africa desk’s way of doing business.”
“Bribery is a highly corrosive offence. It quite literally corrupts people and companies, and spreads like a disease,” he added.
Glencore’s chairman has admitted that “unacceptable practices” have taken place but that the firm today is “not the company it was”.