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SFO announces Rio Tinto corruption investigation

Neil Hodge | August 8, 2017

Words can be powerful weapons, especially when they come from an enforcement agency or a regulator. And the announcement by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that it is investigating Rio Tinto’s activities in Guinea has called into question the effectiveness of the company’s anti-bribery controls and its leadership, particularly as two members of its executive committee have been forced out.

The SFO statement from 24 July is just 31 words long. It reads: “The SFO has opened an investigation into suspected corruption in the conduct of business in the Republic of Guinea by the Rio Tinto group, its employees, and others associated with it.” Rio Tinto’s response is even shorter, and contains even less detail. Its e-mailed statement reads: “Rio Tinto will fully cooperate with the SFO and any other relevant authorities, as it has done since it self-reported in November 2016.”

The SFO investigation comes nine months after the company self-reported the alleged wrongdoing... To get the full story, subscribe now.