BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, is continuing an internal probe into possible breaches of anti-corruption laws that stem from a 2009 investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The internal investigation is continuing and the group is cooperating with the relevant authorities and reporting the facts found in the investigation,” the Melbourne-based company said in an e-mailed statement. “It is not possible at this time to predict the likely outcomes of the matter.”
The internal probe was sparked by an August 2009 request for information from the SEC. At the time BHP “disclosed to relevant authorities evidence that it has uncovered regarding possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws involving interactions with government officials,” it said.
The’s statement from BHP follows a report in Australian newspaper the Age that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police are investigating the company. The Justice Department’s criminal division said it was conducting law enforcement proceedings involving BHP, according to the report by the Age.
A London-based spokesman for BHP declined to comment on the report. Michael Passman, a spokesman at the Justice Department, also declined to comment.
The requests from the SEC formed part of an investigation into terminated mineral exploration projects, BHP said in 2010. The projects concerned are in Cambodia and the Philippines, the Sydney Morning Herald said at the time.
The probe by the Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police extends to hospitality offered as part of BHP’s sponsorship of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Age reported. A deal in Western Australia is also being examined, it said.
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