December 16, 2018 / 5:08 PM / a year ago

Canadian regulator to fine Glencore-controlled miner over Congo - WSJ

(Reuters) - A Glencore-controlled (GLEN.L) mining company and some of its current and former executives have agreed to pay more than $22 million to settle Canadian allegations they hid the risks of doing business with an Israeli close to Congolese President Joseph Kabila, the Wall Street Journal reported.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The expected settlement between the Ontario Securities Commission and Toronto-listed Katanga Mining Ltd is related to the company’s business activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2014 and 2016, the Journal reported, citing an anonymous source.

A Glencore spokesman declined to comment. The Ontario Securities Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Glencore’s share price rose around 1 percent by 0927 GMT, while the broader mining index was 1.4 percent higher.

The Canadian regulator is expected to name several of Katanga’s current and former executives in the settlement, which industrial sources said could be announced this week.

Investigations have included exploring Katanga’s ties with Israeli businessman Dan Gertler, the report said. The settlement is also expected to allege that Katanga overstated copper production, understated mining costs and lacked proper internal financial controls, it added.

A statement from Katanga in 2017 said the OSC was reviewing whether the company’s previously filed financial statements “contain statements that are misleading in a material respect”.

Katanga had said the OSC was also investigating whether Katanga’s corporate governance practices were adequate and the “related conduct” of certain unidentified company directors and officers.

Glencore has faced a series of legal issues related to its activities in Congo, which is home to almost 60 percent of the world’s supply of cobalt, a mineral expected to be in demand for batteries used in electric vehicles.

In July, U.S. authorities demanded Glencore hand over documents about its business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela and Nigeria as part of a corruption enquiry.

Last year after an internal review into Katanga identified weaknesses in its financial reporting controls, three Glencore executives, including Aristotelis Mistakidis, the head of its copper group, stepped down from the board of Katanga.

Mistakidis, one of Glencore’s most senior executives, retires at the end of the year, Glencore announced earlier this month.

Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg, 61, has also said he wishes to retire by the time he is 65.

Glencore’s shares have fallen around 25 percent so far this year, in part, analysts say, because of concerns about geopolitical risk.

Over the two previous years, the miner-trader had led a recovery of the mining sector following a deep crash in 2015-16.

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer and Barbara Lewis; Editing by Paul Simao and Dale Hudson

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