UK fraud department to investigate Rio corruption claims

Image: Rio Tinto

The United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office says it has opened an investigation into suspected corruption by Rio Tinto in Guinea.

In November 2016, Rio Tinto reported it had become aware of email correspondence from 2011 relating to contractual payments of $US10.5 million ($13.3 million) made to a consultant providing advisory services on the Simandou iron ore project.

The mining company said it notified authorities in the UK and United States of the matter, and planned to also contact Australian authorities.

Rio’s energy and minerals chief executive Alan Davies, who was accountable for Simandou in 2011, and legal and regulatory affairs group executive Debra Valentine were both sacked following the scandal.

“Rio Tinto intends to co-operate fully with any subsequent inquiries from all of the relevant authorities,” the company said in the November announcement.

Last year, Rio sold its remaining share in Simandou to Aluminium Corp of China (Chinalco) for around $US1.3 billion, ending a tumultuous relationship with the project.

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