May 10, 2012 / 3:59 PM / in 6 years

Glencore, others accused of paying bribes in EU case

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A subsidiary of commodities trader Glencore (GLEN.L) has been accused of paying an EU official’s bumper phone bills and laying on a French holiday to secure market-sensitive information, according to court documents relating to a Brussels corruption case.

The logo of Glencore is seen in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Zug May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Glencore, the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, said last year ahead of its listing that its subsidiary Glencore Grain Rotterdam, a former employee and a current employee had been charged as part of the criminal case.

The case, which also involves the former incarnation of Dutch grains firm Codrico, centers on former EU agriculture department official Karel Brus, who is accused of passing confidential information about EU export subsidy applications.

Court documents seen by Reuters show Glencore is accused of corrupting a public official and obtaining confidential information that allowed it to bid favorably in tenders for European export subsidies for cereals in 2002 and 2003.

Glencore paid a 20,000 euro ($25,900) phone bill, bought a week-long holiday in the south of France and made thousands of euros in payments connected to Brus, according to the documents.

The papers said Glencore exchanged phone calls with Brus while 15 separate tenders were taking place in 2002 and 2003.

The former EU official was also allegedly provided with nights in hostess bars, trips to Thailand and bottles of champagne by some of Glencore’s co-defendants in exchange for market-sensitive information, the court documents show.

Glencore’s co-defendant, Union Invivo, a French agricultural cooperative, is among those that gave Brus a total of 78,000 euros worth of dinners in restaurants and hostess bars, cases of wine and champagne and a 12,000-euro luxury Christofle cutlery set.

Codrico also paid for a trip to Thailand, the document shows.

Union Invivio could not be reached for comment, and a spokesperson for Codrico pointed out that the case related to a former company also called Codrico which ceased trading in 2009.

Judgment in the case is expected in the summer.

The case is the culmination of an investigation that has been running for more than seven years.

Glencore declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7733 euros)

Editing by David Cowell

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