Mining giant Rio Tinto said this week that it has suspended Alan Davies, who was appointed chief executive of its energy and minerals division earlier this year, after uncovering potentially corrupt payments made to a consultant who was providing advisory services on an iron ore project in Guinea.
Additionally, Debra Valentine, group executive for legal and regulatory affairs, has stepped down from her role. Valentine previously notified the company of her intention to retire on May 1, 2017.
In a prepared statement, Rio Tinto said it did not became aware of e-mail correspondence from 2011 relating to the contractual payments to the consultant, totaling US$10.5 million, until Aug. 29, 2016. Davies was accountable for the Simandou project in 2011.
The company said it launched an investigation into the matter led by external counsel. Based on the investigation to date, Rio Tinto disclosed on Nov. 9 that it notified relevant authorities in the United Kingdom and United States and is “in the process of contacting the Australian authorities.”
Rio Tinto said it “intends to cooperate fully with any subsequent inquiries from all of the relevant authorities. Further comment at this time is, therefore, not appropriate.”