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Glencore subsidiary pleads guilty in Britain to bribery

The commodity trading giant already expects to pay up to $1.5bn to settle allegations of bribery and market manipulation.

A subsidiary of commodity trading giant Glencore on Tuesday formally pleaded guilty in a London court to seven counts of bribery in connection with oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan.

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said sentencing had been set for early November.

The Swiss-based multinational has already said it expects to pay up to $1.5 billion to settle allegations of bribery and market manipulation. Authorities in the United States, Britain and Brazil said in May that three subsidiaries were pleading guilty to crimes.

The largest chunk of those funds has already been apportioned to U.S. authorities after Glencore agreed to a $1.1 billion U.S. accord last month. It is also paying about $40 million in Brazil.

Glencore Energy UK indicated last month that it planned to plead guilty after the SFO formally charged the company at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court with more than $25 million of bribery offences for preferential access to oil between 2011 and 2016.

The case was subsequently sent to the higher Southwark Crown Court for Tuesday’s plea hearing.

The U.S. attorney general has said that the $1.1 billion accord agreed last month would resolve both a decade-long scheme to bribe foreign officials across seven countries and separate criminal and civil charges alleging that one of the company’s trading arms manipulated fuel oil prices at two of the largest U.S. shipping ports.

Glencore is also paying $29.6 million directly to state-run Brazilian oil company Petrobras in compensation for defrauding the company and roughly $10 million to authorities in civil penalties, prosecutors have said.

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