Rio Tinto Settles FCPA Allegations for $15 Million

On March 6, 2023, the SEC announced charges against global mining and metals company, Rio Tinto plc, for violations of the FCPA arising out of a bribery scheme involving a consultant in Guinea. The SEC’s order finds that, in July 2011, Rio Tinto hired a French investment banker and close friend of a former senior Guinean government official as a consultant to help the company retain its mining rights in the Simandou mountain region in Guinea. Rio Tinto consented to the SEC’s order, without admitting or denying the findings that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and agreed to pay a $15 million civil penalty. The failures in company culture and internal controls are made clear by a critical SEC decision, expert comments, attempts within the company to sound the alarm, and even company statements after the fact. See "No Longer a Slap on the Wrist: SEC Penalties and Sentences on the Rise" (Jan. 18, 2023). 

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