BHP Gives Evidence on Bribery Charges Linked to Olympics

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, said it has provided evidence to authorities investigating alleged breaches of anti-corruption laws linked to the Beijing Olympics.

The Melbourne-based company has “disclosed to relevant authorities evidence that it has uncovered regarding possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws involving interactions with government officials,” it said today in an emailed statement.

BHP is the subject of U.S. and Australian inquiries into its dealings with foreign officials, including Chinese dignitaries, under a multimillion-dollar hospitality and sponsorship program at the 2008 Olympics, Australia’s the Age newspaper reported today. Documents released by the Australian Federal Police to the paper show an investigation into the charges was reopened in February after being closed in 2011.

The company said an internal inquiry remains under way, after it began in 2009 in response to questions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. BHP didn’t provide more information on the allegations or to which authorities it’s providing assistance.

“The internal investigation is continuing and the group is cooperating with the relevant authorities and reporting the facts found in the investigation,” according to the statement. “It is not possible at this time to predict the likely outcomes of the matter.”

Troy Daniel, a spokesman for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, declined to comment on the case.

The Australian Federal Police confirmed it’s investigating Australians identified during the U.S. inquiry. It declined to say when its investigation would conclude.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, it would not be appropriate to provide further information at this time,” the AFP said today in an emailed statement.

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