A subsidiary of the commodity trader Glencore pleaded guilty in a London court to seven counts of bribery related to its oil operations in several African countries.
The Serious Fraud Office, which had brought charges against the FTSE 100-listed company after conducting an investigation, said the sentencing hearing would take place on 2 and 3 November.
Last month, Glencore said it would pay a $1.1bn (£900m) US settlement, and indicated it would plead guilty in the UK. The SFO had formally charged the company at Westminster magistrates court in London with bribery offences for preferential access to oil between 2011 and 2016. The case was subsequently sent to the higher Southwark crown court for Tuesday’s plea.
The SFO said on Tuesday: “Glencore Energy (UK) Ltd has today been convicted on all charges of bribery brought against it by the Serious Fraud Office. At Southwark crown court, the company admitted to multiple counts of paying bribes to secure access to oil and generate illicit profit.
“The SFO’s investigation exposed that Glencore, via its employees and agents, paid bribes of over $28m for preferential access to oil, including increased cargoes, valuable grades of oil and preferable dates of delivery. These actions were approved by the company across its oil operations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan.”
US and UK authorities started investigations into alleged bribery and corruption at Glencore’s oil operations in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In February, Glencore said it had set aside $1.5bn to cover potential fines and costs related to the investigations in the UK, US and Brazil. While significant, that amount was far below the $4bn that Glencore said would be returned to shareholders after record profits.
Glencore said it had nothing to add to the statement it made on 24 May, when it said the payments to resolve the investigations were “not expected to differ materially” from the $1.5bn provision. The firm said at the time it had cooperated with the investigations in the US, UK and Brazil and made “substantial investments” to improve its ethics and compliance programme. It also said it had dismissed or disciplined employees involved in the wrongdoing.
Culled from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jun/21/glencore-african-oil-operations
Investors call for Sainsbury’s to pay workers ‘real living wage’
The Queen’s bank, Coutts & Co, and the Coal Pensions Board have joined a group of investors backing a resolution calling for Sainsbury’s to pay the independently set living wage for all staff and contracted workers.
The vote at the UK’s second-largest supermarket’s annual shareholder meeting on 7 July will be the first on a resolution committing a UK company board to pay the living wage.
ShareAction, the responsible investment campaign group, said the resolution would be a “litmus test for investors’ social commitments amid the cost-of-living crisis”.
Leading City investors including HSBC, Legal & General Investment Management and Fidelity International as well as retirement fund Nest and the Brunel Pension Partnership are already part of the coalition behind the resolution that comes as family budgets are squeezed by surging inflation.
Sainsbury’s has raised pay for its 171,000 direct employees across more than 1,400 stores in the UK to the living wage, which is independently calculated for the Living Wage Foundation charity, of at least £9.90 an hour outside London or £11.05 in the capital. However, it has not made the same commitment to contractors. Outsourcing companies such as Mitie provide essential services such as cleaning and security to the supermarket.
Leslie Gent, the head of responsible investing at Coutts & Co, said: “We recognise the positive progress made by Sainsbury’s to match the living wage for its directly employed staff. As a living wage employer ourselves we believe that this accreditation would set a standard for all UK supermarkets, and would provide the certainty and transparency that helps attract a high-quality workforce, today and in the future.”
More than half of the FTSE 100 are among the more than 10,000 accredited living wage employers. However, none of the big supermarkets are among them.
The government’s national living wage, which sets legal minimum rates, pays £9.50 to those aged 23 and over, dropping to £6.83 for those aged between 18 and 20, and £4.81 for apprentices.
Rachel Hargreaves, a campaigns manager at ShareAction, said: “There is no excuse for a highly profitable company with multimillion-pound executive salaries refusing to guarantee all its staff, including subcontracted workers, a basic standard of living.”
With energy and food costs on the rise, the UK’s lowest-paid workers are under particular pressure.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has reported that the poorest households faced inflation in the year to April of 10.9%, three percentage points higher than top earners.