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Glencore under CFTC investigation for possible violations

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Glencore has been informed by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that the company is under investigation for possible corrupt practices violating certain provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and/or CFTC regulations.

The latest CFTC probe comes after the company was subpoenaed last year by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for documents relating to dealings in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela since 2007.

“The CFTC’s investigations are at an early stage and have a similar scope in terms of subject matter as the current ongoing investigation by the DOJ,” the company stated in its press release.

“This is clearly an unhelpful headline for Glencore, which reminds the market of the outstanding DOJ investigation,” said Grant Sporre, analyst at Macquarie Group. “However I don’t think this will impact the size of the fine or sanction due to agreements on not duplicating fines.”

In April 2018, two Glencore subsidiaries were hit with a $2 million fine by the CFTC for multiple violations between January 2013 and November 2015.

The commodity trading industry is currently facing a multitude of bribery and corruption investigations, reports Bloomberg, drawing comparisons with the early 1980s when Glencore founder Marc Rich was prosecuted for tax evasion.

James McDonald, the director of enforcement at the CFTC, said in a speech last month that the agency was investigating overseas fraud and manipulation under the Commodities Exchange Act.

In its annual report, Glencore disclosed that the company incurred $24 million in legal costs last year related to the DOJ investigation. Its shares declined about 8% since the probe began, while most miners experienced gains.

Shares of Glencore were down nearly 4% on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday.