BHP Billiton faces US corruption probe
US authorities warned BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) (LON: BLT)(NYSE: BHP) they are looking into issues that could lead to the world’s No.1 company having to face action over potential breaches of anti-corruption laws, related mainly to terminated projects and its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
In a statement to the Australian stock exchange, BHP said Friday it is “fully committed to operating with integrity and the group’s policies specifically prohibit engaging in unethical conduct.”
However, the company has been under investigation for alleged corrupt practices in several countries as of late, including China, Australia, Cambodia and the Philippines.
In March this year, both the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and US authorities confirmed they were investigating claims against BHP of providing inducements, hospitality and gifts to Chinese and other foreign officials right around the time of the Beijing Olympics committee was accepting application for sponsorships.
BHP ended up being the official materials supplier for the gold, silver and bronze medals used in Beijing.
It also came to light that a parallel investigation was eyeing an aborted BHP mining deal allegedly involving corruption, which was overseen by Cambodian prime minister and strongman Hun Sen.
In 2010, BHP revealed it was conducting its own internal investigation in response to inquiries from US authorities. The probe, said the company at the time, had uncovered evidence “regarding possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws involving interactions with government officials.”
BHP is set to report its full-year results on August 20, the first under new CEO Andrew Mackenzie.