Gold Fields Ownership Deal Probed by South African Police

Gold Fields Ltd. is being investigated by South African police on concern a transfer of shares in 2010 benefited people who helped it obtain a license for its largest mine.

The country’s anti-corruption police, known as the Hawks, are probing the transaction after Gold Fields won a mining permit for the South Deep project southwest of Johannesburg, Paul Ramakolo, a spokesman for the unit, said today by phone.

“We don’t have a formal criminal case opened, but we are looking into the transaction,” he said. “If there is anything pointing towards wrongdoing we’ll follow the normal processes.”

In August 2010, Gold Fields agreed to issue 600,000 shares to a black-owned group and allowed it to buy 10 percent of South Deep, a 39 million-ounce gold mine. Local law requires mining companies to sell or cede 26 percent of their operations to black citizens. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating the transaction, Gold Fields said Sept. 10.

Sven Lunsche, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Gold Fields, declined to comment when contacted by phone today. In 2012, the company denied a M-Net Television report that the deal benefited people who helped it win a permit for the mine.

Gold Fields acted lawfully in transferring the shares, Chairman Cheryl Carolus said Sept. 20 after South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper reported the company may have violated anti-corruption laws.

“The board of Gold Fields received information from a range of sources and advice from a number of legal and other advisers, which collectively informed its decisions,” she said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.