MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission paid a BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) insider $3.75 million for detailed information in an investigation into alleged bribery of Asian and African officials, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday.
Citing legal sources, the newspaper report said it was the first time an employee of an Australian company had received a U.S. whistleblower bounty.
BHP last year settled the SEC case, paying $25 million to resolve charges it violated a U.S. anti-bribery law by failing to properly monitor a program in which it paid for dozens of foreign government officials to attend the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
The Australian Financial Review said it did not spell out the evidence that the whistleblower disclosed because it wanted to protect the person’s identity.
BHP Billiton said on Monday it had fully co-operated with the SEC inquiry and a subsequent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
“We are not aware of the involvement of any whistleblower as part of the SEC’s or DOJ’s investigation,” BHP said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
“We respect and fully support protections for all whistleblowers and the importance of providing confidential avenues for reporting,” the company said.
The world’s biggest miner remains under investigation by the Australian Federal Police over the matter.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Richard Pullin