More reports on: Mining

Paradise papers focus spotlight on Glencore's dealings in Congo

07 November 2017

Mining giant Glencore will need to answer questions about the way it did business following a massive data leak called the 'Paradise Papers'.

The papers name more than 120,000 people and companies in 13.4 million files, many of them leaked from offshore law firm Appleby. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have reviewed the documents.

Among Appleby's biggest clients, Glencore even had a ''Glencore Room'' dedicated to handling transactions and management duties for the miner.

Glencore, one of the biggest miners in the world, has a $152-billion (£116 billion) turnover from mining copper, zinc and coal and trade of commodities such as oil and wheat all around the globe.

The Switzerland-based company is known for its secrecy, but has to adapt to greater public scrutiny since listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2011. The listing raised $10 billion yielding a massive windfall for senior management, including chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, who now owns 8 per cent of the stock.

Glasenberg is known to be a skilled deal maker, bold enough to venture in jurisdictions where others fear to tread. For instance, Glencore is among the biggest foreign firms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world's poorest countries, where it runs the Katanga copper mine, at the centre of some of the documents in the Paradise Papers.

The papers raise serious questions about the conduct of the commodities multinational Glencore and the Israeli mining billionaire Dan Gertler in Africa.

According to the papers, Glencore gave a secret $45-million loan to Gertler's company after it enlisted him to secure a controversial mining agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The papers reveal in graphic detail how Gertler, whose previous diamond monopoly in Congo was described by the UN as a ''disaster'' for the country, came to become Glencore's key negotiator with Congolese authorities.

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