Monday, May 13, 2013

UK firm faces charges of bribing Zambian and other African presidents
By Moses Kuwema
Sun 12 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

A UK-based natural resources company, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), has been accused of bribing African presidents, including Zambia in 2010, where the firm is alleged to have made cash payments related to its acquisition of a copper smelter.

According to a story by the UK's Independent Newspaper, documentary evidence had shown that ENRC made payments to African presidents amounting to US$35 million of misappropriated cash and document destruction.

According to the newspaper, the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into alleged corruption at the miner Eurasian Natural Resources would scrutinise allegations including "payments to African presidents", $35m of "misappropriated" cash and "document destruction".
ENRC has however, denied the claims that were made in a leaked letter from the law firm Dechert to ENRC after the firm had been dismissed from leading an internal inquiry.

Last week, the SFO began a criminal investigation into "allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption relating to the activities of the company or its subsidiaries in Kazakhstan and Africa".

This followed the sacking of Dechert by ENRC and the resignation of the mining group's chairman, Mehmet Dalman. The SFO is expected to compel Dechert to hand over documents from its ENRC inquiry.

In the letter, dated 12 April, Dechert's investigation into ENRC's purchase of a copper mine in Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010 allegedly found "evidence that documents had been falsified and that $35m £23m had been misappropriated.

Dechert also allegedly discovered "documentary evidence regarding the making of cash payments to African presidents" related to its acquisition of a copper smelter in Zambia.

An ENRC spokesman said it is "committed to a full and transparent investigation of its procedures and conduct.

An SFO investigation is being undertaken and therefore ENRC is unable to comment on ongoing investigations.

ENRC is a UK-listed, Kazakhstan-focused, multinational leading diversified natural resources company headquartered in London. It has activities in integrated mining, processing, energy, logistics and marketing. ENRC was formed in 1994.

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