Rio Tinto to Pay $15 Million Penalty for FCPA Violations
The SEC has charged global mining and metals company, Rio Tinto plc, with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) arising from a bribery scheme involving a consultant in Guinea. The company has agreed to pay a $15 million penalty to settle the charges. The investigation determined that the consultant, who was hired by Rio Tinto in July 2011, was a close friend of a former senior Guinean government official and was paid for services without a written agreement. It was discovered that the consultant had offered an improper payment of $822,000 to a Guinean government official. Additionally, none of his payments were properly reflected in Rio Tinto's books and records and the company failed to have sufficient internal accounting controls in place. As a result, Rio Tinto consented to the SEC's order and will pay a $15 million penalty. The SEC is thankful for the assistance of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the Australian Federal Police, and the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office with their investigation.