BHP Bilton Foresees Potential Legal Troubles from Beijing 2008 Dealings

August 16, 2013

BHP Billton, the world’s largest mining company, have stated that the firm could face legal action from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice which “relate primarily to matters in connection with previously terminated exploration and development efforts, as well as hospitality provided as part of the company’s sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics”.

The Anglo-Australian miner has been under investigation by the SEC for four years due to allegations that BHP used its Olympics affiliation to run a “behind-the-scenes campaign to improve relations with its most important clients – those who run China’s state-owned steel-making firms”, including Chinalco, Baosteel and the China Iron and Steel Association.

An internal investigation launched several years ago uncovered evidence of possible bribery of foreign government officials, made illegal by the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The evidence was forwarded by the firm to the US Department of Justice.

Although the Department of Justice and SEC have yet to make a formal statement, BHP Billiton stated that the firm “is fully committed to operating with integrity and the group’s policies specifically prohibit engaging in unethical conduct. BHP Billiton has what it considers to be a world class anti-corruption compliance programme.”