Glencore agrees to pay $180m in penalties to DRC related to corrupt activities

GLENCORE is to pay $180m to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for corrupt practices in which it engaged between 2007 and 2018 in an agreement today that also extends to future claims related to alleged acts of corruption.

This follows a UK court order on November 6 in which the miner was ordered to pay a £276.4m ($310.6m) penalty for seven bribery offences related to its oil operations in Africa. It is part of ongoing reparations by Glencore that began in May after $1.06bn in penalties were agreed with anti-graft organisations in the US, UK and Brazil.

Glencore was found by the US Department of Justice and and the UK Serious Fraud Office to have engaged in corrupt practices in Nigeria, the DRC, and Venezuela from 2007. In its ruling, the UK court in November said that corruption was “endemic” in the African oil trading desk of Glencore Energy UK.

Glencore’s statement today comes before an investor update in which it is likely to show the outsized benefits of its decision to remain invested in thermal coal production, whilst agreeing to run down its coal resources over time.

In August, it said it would pay out $8.5bn for its 2022 financial year comprising a special $4.5bn ‘top-up’ dividend including a new share buy-back programme totalling $3bn. It had previously flagged a payout of $4bn.

Commenting on the agreement with the DRC, Glencore chairman Kalidas Madhavpeddi said the group was “pleased to have reached this agreement to address the consequences of its past conduct”.

“Glencore has actively promoted its Ethics and Compliance Programme in the DRC in recent years and looks forward to continuing to work with the DRC authorities and other stakeholders to facilitate good governance and ethical business practices in the country,” he said.

Glencore said it had invested in improving its ethics and had installed improved controls safeguarding against market abuse. Third party trading partnerships had also been discontinued, it said previously.

“The company has a refreshed board and management team, including in its DRC operations, who are dedicated to fostering a culture of integrity, responsibility and transparency,” it said.

The agreement with the DRC was governed by Congolese law “and the only admissions made are in respect of the conduct already acknowledged in Glencore’s resolution with the DOJ,” the group said.