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Glencore reviews bribery allegations against business partner

Mutanda mine in the DRC (Photo: Glencore)

The world’s biggest commodity trader, Glencore, told Bloomberg in an email statement that it is reviewing allegations by U.S. prosecutors that a key business partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo spent a decade bribing government officials.

The partner is Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, whose Fleurette Group owns 31% of the $1.8 billion Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in the DRC, while Glencore owns the majority of the project.

Gertler has worked with Och-Ziff, a New York-based hedge fund that agreed to pay $412 million on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission found it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

According to the SEC proceedings, Och-Ziff’s partner in Congo paid $100 million in bribes to local authorities over a 10-year period to secure access to mining assets. Bloomberg quotes an anonymous source saying Gertler is that partner.

But Gertler disputes any wrongdoing in his business dealings in the central African country. His spokesperson has said that the Och-Ziff case has nothing to do with Gertler’s Fleurette Group.