THE PENALTIES IMPOSED ON GLENCORE ENERGY (UK), a British subsidiary of Glencore plc, is a marked achievement for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), but must now be followed with prosecutions of the executives allegedly involved, says Transparency International UK. 

The mining giant was ordered on 3 November to pay £276 million, after it pleaded guilty to paying tens of millions of pounds in bribes to secure oil deals in West and Central Africa. As many as 17 individuals, including 11 former Glencore employees, are reportedly under investigation by the SFO, but no decision has yet been taken on whether to charge them.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said: “This criminal fine goes some way to reflecting the scale and endemic nature of bribery in Glencore’s oil operations. We welcome the Serious Fraud Office’s achievement in securing such a high-profile corporate conviction and urge this same determination now be directed at the individuals who facilitated this activity. Successfully prosecuting individuals involved in major corruption cases is essential to credibly deter others from flouting Britain’s strict bribery laws.

“When UK businesses pay bribes to corrupt officials overseas it has corrosive and far-reaching effects that ultimately hit the poorest in those countries the hardest. Despite the penalties imposed, the people suffering the consequences of this criminal activity will have little access to genuine redress.  Victims of crime in the UK are entitled to compensation. The law needs to be expanded to establish the rights of victims in international corruption cases and ensure they can be compensated and pursue the recovery of assets.”

Lawyers representing Nigeria, where Glencore Energy (UK) admitted to paying bribes, had argued that Nigerian officials should be able to address the court during sentencing because the country was a victim of crime. This request was refused by the judge in the case.

* More information on Nigeria’s attempt to claim compensation here.

* Source: Transparency International UK