Wednesday, 8th April 2020

Glencore under fire over Congo as investors meet

Commodities trader Glencore faced calls for greater transparency around its deals in Congo, one of its most promising but most controversial jurisdictions, as it prepares for its first shareholder meeting since listing.
Anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness, in a new memo reviewing mining transactions in Congo since 2010, said Glencore should provide more detail on what it said were "potentially corrupt deals" in the country and on its relationship with an influential Israeli businessman, Dan Gertler.
Glencore and Gertler, it said, should release the full list of shareholders of all offshore companies involved in Glencore ventures in Congo, adding there was a risk those shareholders could include "corrupt Congolese officials or their proxies".
Global Witness said both Glencore and Gertler had challenged its facts and categorically denied involvement in corruption.
Glencore, which will hold its maiden shareholder meeting in the Swiss town of Zug on Wednesday, said it had a clear anti-corruption policy and "offering, paying, authorising, soliciting or accepting bribes is unacceptable to Glencore".
Fleurette Group, owned by a trust for the benefit of the Gertler family, said it had engaged with the campaign group but rejected any allegation of impropriety and denied wrongdoing.
The Global Witness report, which examines the issue of mining stakes sold by the Congo state, does not accuse Glencore of corruption. But its probe into Glencore's deals in the central African country comes at an awkward time for the world's largest diversified commodities trader.
Glencore, a target for campaigners since its listing last year after almost four decades as a private company, agreed in February to a $36 billion takeover of Xstrata and is currently wooing the miner's institutional and small shareholders, some of whom argue they are not being offered enough premium for the combined company's higher risks.

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