BHP Billiton admits it may have broken anti-corruption laws

Apr 22, 2010 | 12:51 PM | Alex Harrison

BHP Billiton may have violated anti-corruption laws on some of its mineral exploration projects.

"Following requests for information from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of an investigation relating primarily to certain terminated minerals exploration projects, the company has disclosed to relevant authorities evidence that it has uncovered regarding possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws," BHP said in announcing production results for the first quarter.

BHP dropped copper exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kazakhstan and Mongolia, as well as diamond exploration in Angola and the DRC, between the last quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2009, according to BHP's exploration reports.

The possible violations relate to "interactions with government officials," BHP said, adding that it is conducting an internal investigation and cooperating with relevant authorities. The company said it is sharing information from its internal investigation with the SEC that it hopes responds to its requests.....

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