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Paradise Papers reveals criminal complaint against Glencore

Mining News - Published on Wed, 27 Dec 2017

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The guardian reported that watchdog group has filed a criminal complaint against the Anglo-Swiss commodities giant Glencore following revelations from the Paradise Papers. Human rights campaigners in Switzerland have formally asked the country’s attorney general to investigate how the multinational obtained a copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Under Swiss law, the office of the attorney general will be required to assess and formally respond to the criminal complaint lodged by Public Eye.

The watchdog group said in a statement that “With the Paradise Papers, there are now even more elements pointing at embezzlement surrounding the acquisition of mines for the legal authorities to launch an investigation.”

The watchdog group added that “It’s overdue for [Swiss authorities] to rule on the legality of operations, whose dubious nature has been brought to the fore by the press and NGOs for more than five years.”

The Paradise Papers, files leaked from the offshore law firm Appleby, revealed how Glencore loaned USD 45 million to an offshore firm of the diamond businessman Dan Gertler after enlisting him to help secure a joint venture agreement with the state-controlled mining entity Gécamines in the DRC.

A document in the files stated that “Glencore shall use its vote at the board of Katanga [Mining Ltd] to have Dan Gertler exclusively mandated to assist Katanga in finalising the terms of the joint venture agreement.”

However, Glencore made the loan with the caveat that it would be “immediately repayable on demand” within three months if Gertler failed to secure the contract. Glencore has previously said the loan “was made on commercial terms negotiated at arm’s length”.

The files also reveal Glencore used Gertler to negotiate with the DRC government. It has since distanced itself from Gertler, who was named in a 2001 UN investigation as having given USD 20 million to the DRC president, Mr Joseph Kabila, to buy weapons in exchange for a monopoly on the country’s diamonds.

Mr Joseph is also reported to be the unnamed that “DRC partner” identified by the Department of Justice last year in a deferred prosecution agreement with a hedge fund accused of paying bribes to secure access to Congo’s mining interests.

Gertler’s lawyers have said that he denies the UN report’s allegations and that he was not a party to the DoJ agreement, which “does not constitute evidence of anything against Mr Gertler”.

Glencore declined to comment that the development comes one month after Glencore’s head of copper was forced to resign from the board of Katanga Mining amid an investigation into accounting practices by the Ontario Securities Commission in Canada.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 27 Dec 2017
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