On February 27, 2023, a New York federal judge ordered Swiss-based multinational commodity trading and mining company Glencore International AG to pay approximately $700 million after pleading guilty, in May 2022, to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). In accordance with its plea agreement with the US Department of Justice, the company will pay a criminal fine of more than $428 million and forfeit over $272 million to the DOJ to resolve allegations that the company engaged in an international bribery scheme between 2007 and 2018. In the plea agreement, the company admitted that it had paid more than $100 million in bribes to foreign officials in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela and Brazil. Due to Glencore’s partial cooperation with the DOJ and remediation efforts, the fine imposed by the DOJ represents a 15% discount off of the bottom of the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range.
In addition to the forfeiture and monetary penalties, Glencore was sentenced to five years’ probation for its role in the bribery scheme and was ordered to pay over $29.6 million in restitution to the founders of Medical Services International (“MSI”) and Crusader Health, companies that had once provided healthcare services in 11 African countries. The restitution order related to Glencore’s admission that it had bribed a public official in the DRC in order to have a 2010 lawsuit brought by Crusader against one of Glencore’s indirect subsidiaries dismissed. According to the sentencing order, Glencore admitted that it had paid a public official $500,000 in exchange for dismissing the lawsuit, enabling Glencore to avoid paying approximately $16 million to settle the case and ultimately resulting in Crusader Health’s cessation of operations.
As noted, the sentencing follows Glencore’s May 2022 guilty plea. The plea was part of a global settlement with civil and criminal authorities in the US, including the DOJ and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), UK and Brazil, under which Glencore had agreed to pay a combined total of more than $1.1 billion in fines and forfeiture.
SDNY Opinion & Order | Judgment and Plea Agreement | Government’s Sentencing Memorandum | Glencore’s Letter concerning sentencing