BHP reveals corruption probes by U.S., Australian authorities – by Dorothy Kosich ( – August 19, 2013)

A slow-moving investigation of BHP Billiton’s business practices, which began in 2009, is heating up.

RENO (MINEWEB) – U.S. and Australian authorities are cooperating on an investigation into “possible corruption” within Australian über miner BHP Billiton, stepping up a probe that began four years ago concerning BHP’s Olympic sponsorship, hospitality and gifts given to top Chinese officials, and now reportedly involves the company’s attempts to secure a bauxite project in Cambodia.

The allegations are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a statement released on Friday by BHP Billiton, the company disclosed it had commenced an internal investigation when it received a request for information in August 2009 from the SEC. “As a result, the Group commence an internal investigation and disclosed to relevant authorities including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) evidence that it uncovered regarding possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws involving interactions with foreign government officials,” the company said.

“As has been publicly reported, the Australian Federal Police has indicated that it has commenced an investigation,” the company confirmed.

“As part of the US process, the SEC and DOJ have recently notified the Group of issues they consider could form the basis of enforcement actions and discussions are continuing. The issue related primarily to matters in connection with previously terminated exploration and development efforts, as well as hospitality provided as part of the company’s sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” said BHP.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the inquiries are linked to BHP’s activities in several countries before 2009, including China, Australia and at least two other Asian countires, thought to be Cambodia and the Philippines.

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