Fraud police probing ex-Glencore staff plan to press charges

Fraud police probing ex-Glencore staff plan to press charges
British prosecutors investigating former Glencore Plc employees over bribery allegations said they plan to bring long-awaited criminal charges.

More than 18 months after first revealing that as many as 11 ex-staffers were under investigation, the Serious Fraud Office told a London judge on Monday that it had recently sought government approval to charge individuals. It’s the first time the agency has committed to press individual criminal convictions following Glencore’s own guilty plea in 2022.

The SFO didn’t say how many individuals will be charged. The agency requires consent from the Attorney General’s office in relation to some charges and said it expected individuals to appear in court as soon as September.

The commodity trading industry has been dogged by anti-corruption investigations for years, but few individual traders or bosses have faced prosecution until recently. The SFO previously said the investigation into the individual Glencore employees makes allegations of serious criminality.

“Matters are really very much advanced and in a matter of weeks the SFO will have made charging decisions,” said Judge Peter Fraser.

Glencore was hit with a £276 million ($352 million) fine by the judge after pleading guilty to coordinating a sprawling effort to bribe government officials for access to oil cargoes across Africa.

Prosecutors focused in on the firm’s London trading desk, saying Glencore’s traders and executives paid more than $28 million in bribes to secure access to oil cargoes between 2011 and 2016. The SFO said previously that its investigation showed the commodity trader paid for preferential access to oil, including increased cargoes, valuable grades of oil and preferable dates of delivery, between 2011 and 2016.

Including the UK fine, Glencore paid about $1.6 billion to resolve cases in the US, UK, Brazil and Democratic Republic of Congo in 2022 after pleading guilty to charges of corruption and market manipulation.

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