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  1. #1
    Mid
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    BHP faces US bribe probe over Cambodia project

    BHP faces US bribe probe over Cambodia project
    April 23, 2010

    (SYDNEY) Authorities in the United States are probing mining giant BHP Billiton over a US$2.5 million payment related to an exploration project in Cambodia, reports said yesterday.

    The Australian newspaper and the Sydney Morning Herald both said possible corruption uncovered by BHP, which has refused to give details, had been linked to an abandoned bauxite exploration project in the impoverished country.

    The Anglo-Australian miner on Wednesday said it had evidence of possible corruption involving 'interaction' with government officials, related to a minerals exploration project which was terminated about a year ago.

    BHP said it had handed evidence to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and was also conducting an internal investigation.

    It declined to reveal the location of the project, but said it was not in China, where four staff of rival miner Rio Tinto were jailed for bribery and commercial espionage last month.

    The Australian said BHP has admitted paying US$2.5 million to a community in Cambodia's east, near the Vietnam border, but has denied a Cambodian government minister's claim that it was 'tea money', or a bribe.

    The company has said the money was put into a development fund investing in social welfare programmes, and that it paid US$1 million to the government for bauxite exploration rights, according to the newspaper.

    Australian newspapers relied on a 2009 report by Global Witness, a non-governmental organisation seeking to expose corruption in the resources sectors, to speculate that the probe involved a Cambodian project.

    Global Witness, funded by trusts like the Ford Foundation, development organisations and governments, including the European Commission, said it had questioned BHP in 2008 about a US$1 million payment.

    In a reply to Global Witness, BHP said it made the payment in accordance with the terms of a minerals exploration agreement with the government and rejected any assertion that the payment was inappropriate, the organisation said in a statement.

    BHP shares fell 0.52 per cent to close at A$42.21 yesterday while Rio Tinto shares were down 2.1 per cent. The broader market ended 0.88 per cent lower.

    businesstimes.com.sg



  2. #2
    Newbie Unionhillbkk's Avatar
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    Who seriously believes you can do business in Cambodia without bribing somebody. I do wish these silly sods would get real.

  3. #3
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    The American Government handicaps American businesses with these silly morality probes. That's just the way business is done in some countries, and if the American companies are obstructed by their own government, some other country's companies will pay the bribes and get the business.

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    ^

    read the OP ?

  5. #5
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    Cambodian PM denies BHP paid bribes for exploration deal
    April 28, 2010

    THE Cambodian prime minister has denied mining giant BHP Billiton paid a large bribe for an exploration contract in his country.


    Australian media last week reported that authorities in the United States were probing BHP over a $US2.5 million ($2.7 million) payment related to a project in Cambodia.

    But Cambodian leader Hun Sen said the money was for a "social fund" established in an agreement between Australia and Cambodia, and was used to build a hydroelectric dam, schools and hospitals.

    "These days, they have been saying BHP paid illegal money to Cambodia. Let's see the contract - it was a social fund," Hun Sen said in a speech.

    "This issue is written in the contract. It is not the under-the-table money," Hun Sen told a meeting between the government and private sector which Australia's ambassador to Cambodia also attended.

    "It is written in the contract. It is not secret," he said.

    The Anglo-Australian miner last Wednesday said it had evidence of possible corruption involving "interaction" with government officials, related to a minerals exploration project which was terminated about a year ago.

    It declined to reveal the location of the project, but said it was not in China, where four staff of rival miner Rio Tinto were jailed for bribery and commercial espionage last month.

    BHP has said it paid $US2.5 million ($2.7 million) to a community in Cambodia's east and $US1 million ($1.08 million) to the government for bauxite exploration rights, according to The Australian.

    Hun Sen added that French oil company Total had also contributed eight million dollars towards a "social fund" as part of an $US28 million ($A30.19 million) payment to explore for oil offshore from Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand.

    Total "also has paid this kind of money", Hun Sen said.

    BHP declined to comment on the reports in Australian press. Last Wednesday, it said it had handed evidence to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and was also conducting an internal investigation.

    Anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness said in a statement last week that Cambodian government accounts do not appear to reflect large amounts of money paid by BHP and other companies for mining concessions.

    adelaidenow.com.au

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