Rio director steps down after fraud conspiracy charge

John Varley

Rio Tinto’s John Varley has resigned as a non-executive director of the company after being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in the United Kingdom.

Varley, who steps down from the board immediately, was charged yesterday with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of providing unlawful financial assistance.

The charges follow an investigation from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office that was launched almost five years ago.

Varley joined the Rio Tinto board in September 2011 and was also the chair of the remuneration committee. He is also the former chief executive officer of bank, Barclays.

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis said he was grateful for Varley’s outstanding contribution over the five or so years he was on the board.

“The board holds him in the highest regard and will miss his valuable insight,” du Plessis said.

“Personally, I am not only losing a senior independent director, but a close colleague, whose wisdom and support I am going to miss tremendously.”

Rio said the appointment of a new senior independent director and chair of the remuneration committee will be made in due course.

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