Glencore Reviewing Bribery Allegations Said to Involve Gertler

JOHANNESBURG (Capital Markets in Africa) – Glencore Plc, the world’s biggest commodity trader, is reviewing allegations by U.S. authorities regarding the bribery of officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo said to implicate its partner, Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler.

Some of Gertler’s projects in Congo were funded by Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, which on Thursday agreed to pay more than $400 million to settle a U.S. investigation that it committed bribery violations in Africa. Och-Ziff’s partner in Congo paid $100 million in bribes to government officials over a 10-year period to win access to mining assets, according to an agreement between Och-Ziff and the U.S. Justice Department.

That partner was Gertler, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

“We are aware of the matter and the allegations,” Glencore said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. “Glencore takes ethics and compliance very seriously and is considering this information‎.”

None of the allegations relate to projects involving Glencore and the company hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. Gertler has not been charged with any crime and disputes the allegations.

Mine Partners
Glencore and Gertler’s Fleurette Group are partners in the $1.8 billion Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in the African country, with Glencore owning 69 percent and Fleurette the remainder. Last month, billionaire Chief Executive OfficerIvan Glasenberg said Glencore hadn’t faced any pressure to review its relationship with Gertler.

“Not at all,” Glasenberg said on an Aug. 24 call with reporters. “We’ve heard nothing,” of the probe, he said. “Dan you’ll remember, he’s a partner in Mutanda. That occurred because he had an asset next door which we merged together with Mutanda.”

U.S. prosecutors are continuing to investigate Gertler and several others with ties to the hedge fund operator, according to people familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for Gertler’s Fleurette Group said that the firm “vigorously contests any and all accusations of wrongdoing in any of its dealings in the DRC including those with Och Ziff. Fleurette Group and Dan Gertler strongly deny the allegations announced today, which are motivated by a hedge fund trying to put behind it problems sparked by people that have nothing to do with Fleurette.”

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

Source: Bloomberg Business News

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