(Bloomberg) — For Glencore Plc in the Democratic Republic of Congo, problems don’t form an orderly queue: they pile up on top of each other.
In the latest example of the commodity giant’s deteriorating relationships in the country, a convicted fraudster has resurrected a legal claim the company considered dead, launching a billion-dollar bid for compensation for a 19 percent stake he previously held in Mutanda Mining Sarl — the world’s biggest cobalt miner.
The lawsuit, the third court action this year challenging Glencore’s control of its prized Congolese mines, is another headache for the Swiss commodity trader as it faces down the government over a new mining code that hiked taxes.
It raises further questions about Glencore’s ability to hold onto its assets with state-owned miner Gecamines bidding to dissolve their Kamoto Copper Co. joint-venture and former partner Dan Gertler suing for billions of dollars over unpaid royalties.
Congolese-American businessman Charles Brown, one of Mutanda’s founders, says his shares were fraudulently sold to Glencore in two transactions, in 2007 and 2012, and is demanding more than $1 billion in compensation and damages. His ultimate aim is to take back his shares, Brown told Bloomberg.
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