As many as 11 former Glencore Plc employees could be under investigation by UK prosecutors as the company prepares to be sentenced for bribery across five African countries, prosecutors said.
The commodity trading industry has been dogged by anti-corruption investigations for years, but few individual traders or executives have faced prosecution. The SFO’s comments mark the clearest sign yet that further charges are possible against individuals involved in the widespread corruption perpetrated by Glencore.
All the individuals referenced by the SFO are ex-employees, according to a Glencore spokesman.
The Glencore staff are implicated in a case summary detailing how the commodities giant paid out more than $28 million in bribes, Alexandra Healy, a lawyer for Serious Fraud Office said in a London court Monday. The investigation makes allegations of serious criminality against those individuals. The SFO didn’t say if all 11 were under investigation.
In May, the company — which was founded by notorious trader and US fugitive Marc Rich — announced it expected to pay about $1.5 billion to settle long-running investigations into bribery and price manipulation charges in deals with the US, UK and Brazil. While the US settlements have been made public, the penalty in the UK has yet to be finalized. Sentencing has been set for Nov. 2 and 3.
The SFO said previously that its investigation showed the commodity trader paid for preferential access to oil, including increased cargoes, valuable grades of oil and preferable dates of delivery, between 2011 and 2016.
The SFO intends to make individual charging decision by the end of April next year, Healy said.
In its parallel investigation, the US Department of Justice has secured guilty pleas from two mid-level former Glencore traders, Anthony Stimler and Emilio Heredia.
(By Jonathan Browning, with assistance from Jack Farchy)