Australia’s financial regulator closes probe into Rio Tinto payment to consultant


Australian financial regulators have completed an investigation into the payments Rio Tinto paid to a consultant who helped secure one of the most valuable assets in the mining industry.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has “violated the law” regarding a $ 10.5 million fee paid by a miner to former French top banker François Porgue de Combre for his work in Simandu. There is insufficient evidence to prove that. ” Project in Guinea in 2011.

“ASIC has now completed its investigation and decided not to take coercive action,” regulators said in a letter to Alan Davis, a former head of energy and minerals in Rio. , The Financial Times saw.

Davis, who was in charge of the Simandu project at the time, was dismissed in 2016 after Rio reported payments to UK, Australian and US regulators. The ASIC then filed a proceeding, similar to what the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom described as “suspicion of corruption in conducting business in Guinea.”

Rio does not reveal Why did you report the fee However, an email leaked from 2011 showed senior executives discussing payments to de Combret and his “intimacy” with Guinea’s former president Alpha Condé, who was expelled by military junta this year. ..

Davis was always there No basis For the termination of his employment and for Rio’s claim that he did not give him the opportunity to answer any claims.

Rio said he had terminated another senior management contract with Davis because he “could not maintain the expected standards” under the Global Code of Conduct.

Davies, now CEO of Zambian copper company Moxico Resources, was not immediately asked for comment. Like De Combre, Rio declined to comment.

ASIC confirmed that the investigation had been completed and that it had informed Davis in writing that “we will not take coercive action due to insufficient evidence.” “We have noted that if circumstances change, ASIC may resume investigations or initiate enforcement measures,” he added.

Simando is a huge undeveloped deposit of high-grade iron, an important component needed to make steel. However, the project is controversial and involved in a fierce court battle. Despite billions of dollars invested in its development, it has not yet produced a ton of ore.

Rio was deprived of the northern half of Simando when it was handed over to BSG Resources, the mining industry of the family conglomerate of Israeli diamond tycoon Beny Steinmetz in 2008.

In 2011, Rio paid $ 700 million to Conde’s then-new government to secure a claim for the other half of Simandu. The deal emails a former Lazard banker, deCombret, who helped promote it.

Last year’s Financial Times report Rio and SFO discuss transactions that may prevent miners from prosecuting Guinea’s bribery allegations. The SFO said Rio’s investigation was “in progress.”

Bold Bagatl, the current Simando executive, described this week as the “Rolls Royce” of the iron ore world because of its high grade and low impurities.

At a briefing in London, Barter told analysts and investors, “it can’t get any better.”

Rio has not yet reached an agreement with a China-backed consortium that owns the other half of the project to build the 650km trans-Guinea railroad needed to connect the deposit to the coastal deep-sea port.

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The post Australia’s financial regulator closes probe into Rio Tinto payment to consultant appeared first on California News Times.

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