BHP faces possible US anti-corruption enforcement action

Olympics hospitality, exploration efforts probed

 

BHP Billiton said yesterday US authorities had laid out grounds for possible enforcement action against the global mining firm for corrupt practices, stepping up a four-year probe linked partly to its 2008 Olympics sponsorship.

The company has been under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US department of justice (DOJ) since 2009, mainly over exploration activities that had been terminated and over its hospitality at the Beijing Olympic Games.

“As a part of the US process, the SEC and DOJ have recently notified the group of the issues they consider could form the basis of enforcement actions and discussions are continuing,” BHP said in a statement, adding that it could not comment on possible outcomes.

BHP has said previously it believed it had complied with all applicable laws relating to its Olympics sponsorship, and said yesterday it had what it considered to be a “world class anti-corruption compliance programme”.

“BHP Billiton is fully committed to operating with integrity and the group’s policies specifically prohibit engaging in unethical conduct,” the company said, adding that it was cooperating fully with the authorities.

– (Reuters)