Glencore Plc was ordered by a federal judge in New York to pay $700 million as a criminal punishment for a global bribery scheme orchestrated by the Swiss-based commodities trading and mining giant.
US District Judge Lorna G. Schofield on Tuesday imposed the sentence, following the terms of a plea deal with prosecutors entered when Glencore pleaded guilty in May to a single count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company must pay a fine of $428.5 million and $272.2 million in criminal forfeiture.
The penalty, one of the largest in a foreign corruption case, is part of the $1.5 billion Glencore agreed to pay to resolve bribery and market-manipulation probes in the US, UK and Brazil. Glencore units agreed to plead guilty to a list of charges ranging from bribery and corruption in South America and Africa, to price manipulation in US fuel-oil markets.
Glencore was guilty of “a very serious offense,” Schofield said, though he noted the company’s efforts to cooperate with the government and to beef up compliance procedures after receiving a federal grand jury subpoena in 2018.
Prosecutors claimed Glencore paid more than $100 million in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Venezuela. They said Glencore made $315 million from the scheme.
In addition to the fine and forfeiture, Glencore will spend five years on probation, continue with improvements to its ethics and compliance programs and employ an outside monitor for three years.
Glencore conducted an internal investigation, eventually disciplining more than 20 people, a lawyer for the company said during the hearing Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. Glencore produced more than 1 million documents, many from outside the US, and hired a forensic accounting firm to look into suspect trading activity.
On Monday, Schofield ruled Glencore must pay $29.6 million to the founders of a company that provided healthcare services in 11 African countries, but was forced to shut down. Crusader Health claimed it was driven out of business after Glencore bribed a public official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to throw out a lawsuit brought by Crusader against a Glencore subsidiary.
In September, the commodity firm was sentenced in Connecticut to pay $486 million in fines and forfeitures in a case in which Glencore admitted conspiring to manipulate oil-price benchmarks. In November, a London judge imposed a £276 million ($333 million) penalty for Glencore’s effort to bribe government officials for access to oil cargoes across Africa.
The case is US v. Glencore, 22-cr-00297, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
(By Bob Van Voris)