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Rio CEO Says Staff ‘Shocked’ by Probe That May Take Years

  • Investigation relates to consultant payment for Simandou mine
  • Rio suspended executive Davies in relation to payment inquiry
Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg
Updated on

Rio Tinto Group Chief Executive Officer Jean Sebastien Jacques said an investigation into the lawfulness of a payment made to an external consultant relating to a giant iron ore project in Guinea has “shell-shocked” the company and may take several years to resolve.

The world’s second-biggest miner last week alerted authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, to a $10.5 million payment made to Francois de Combret in 2011 for assisting negotiations with Guinea’s President Alpha Conde. An e-mail exchange discussing the payment shows former CEOs Tom Albanese and Sam Walsh, who was then head of Rio’s iron ore unit, were aware of the payment.