Glencore earned $124 million from $52 million worth of bribes to Nigerian officials between 2007-2018

Global mining giant, Glencore earned profits of $124 million after paying bribes to Nigerian officials worth $52 million between 2007 and 2018.

This was disclosed by the US Justice Department in a Bloomberg report after the company agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle US, UK and Brazilian probes.

The court filing disclosed the company schemed to reach senior government officials in Nigeria within the period by using code words for bribes, including “newspapers” and “chocolates”.

What the report is saying

Citing details from emails, the report disclosed that “employees at the Glencore UK units used coded language to conceal their discussion of bribe payments,” referring to them as “newspapers”, “journals” or “pages,”

  • The report stated that in a November 2018 email, a Glencore trader told an agent in West Africa that a $90,000 payment was needed to be made to cover newspaper reading material, which was the code for paying bribes to falsely undervalue fuel oil for the benefit of Glencore, according to the court document.
  • The agent replied that “the newspapers will be delivered” personally.
  • Payments were sometimes concealed in large bundles of cash or through third-party companies, with deceptive invoices to Glencore for euphemistic costs or services such as “advance payment,” “marketing services” or “commission,” according to the CFTC filing.
  • Prosecutors also noted that in 2011, a Glencore Executive met with one of its West African intermediaries and a Nigerian government official in London to discuss a swap agreement that would allow Glencore to buy refined crude from Nigeria.
  • They said the “Glencore’s representative, identified only as ‘Executive 1’, agreed to pay $14 million through the West African intermediary, knowing that some of those funds would be used as a bribe,” adding that after it was wired in March of 2011, the African agent withdrew $1 million and gave it to the Nigerian official as a bribe, however when Glencore decided not to pursue the initiative, its intermediary only sent back $8 million of the original $14 million.
  • Glencore units agreed to plead guilty to a list of charges that range from bribery and corruption in South America and Africa, as Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said at a press conference: “The tone from the top was clear: whatever it takes” citing $100 million in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Venezuela. The company will pay $1.5 billion to settle US, UK and Brazilian probes after admitting to bribery charges.

What you should know

  • Recall Nairametrics reported last year that Anthony Stimler, an ex- Glencore trader, pleaded guilty to a scheme to bribe officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for a favourable oil contract.
  • He revealed he paid as much as $300,000 in bribes to fund the election campaign of a senior government official.
  • US prosecutors disclosed that millions of dollars were paid as bribes to NNPC and Nigerian government officials in exchange for more lucrative grades of oil on more favourable delivery terms contracts.
  • Stimler worked on Glencore’s West Africa desk from around 2002 to 2009 and again from around 2011 to 2019, court papers show.

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