The UK’s Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into suspicions of bribery at mining and commodity trading group Glencore.
The company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange but has its headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, said it would cooperate with the investigation.
Glencore’s share price fell more than 7% to 220.95p upon news of the investigation.
In a brief statement the £30bn company said: “Glencore has been notified today that the Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into suspicions of bribery in the conduct of business of the Glencore group.”
The SFO also released a statement confirming “it is investigating suspicions of bribery in the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons”.
Glencore was founded in 1974 by commodities trader and financier Marc Rich. Under its billionaire chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, the company has become the world’s biggest commodity trader, supplying the raw materials used in products from cars to smartphones.
It operates in more than 50 countries and also has a significant mining operation for gold, silver, platinum, nickel, iron and aluminium.
Glencore is also being investigated by the US Department of Justice for alleged money-laundering and corruption in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa’s biggest copper producer, dating back to 2007.