The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened a corruption investigation into Rio Tinto’s activities in Guinea, nine months after the mining giant reported itself to authorities in the UK and the US.
The probe will focus on allegations that multi-million pound bribery payments were made in 2011 to a contractor in Guinea linked to a huge iron ore project.
The fraud watchdog said that it would look into “suspected corruption” in the African nation by the company itself, its staff and other associates.
In November 2016, Rio terminated the contracts of two senior figures and told the SFO of the alleged payments.
A Rio spokesman said: “Rio Tinto will fully co-operate with the Serious Fraud Office and any other relevant authorities, as it has done since it self-reported in November 2016.”
Rahman Ravelli’s Aziz Rahman said that while Rio Tinto may gain lenient treatment for reporting the corruption, the matter raised major questions about the mining giant’s compliance measures.
He added: “A company of this size should have preventative measures capable of identifying and preventing wrongdoing at the earliest possible opportunity.’’
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