[The Age Newspaper, 21 May 2015.] The Age has published a report today by Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie titled US anti-corruption body charges BHP Billiton over Beijing Olympics hospitality.

An edited extract of the article is reproduced below.

The US government has charged BHP Billiton with breaches of foreign corrupt practices act and imposed a $US25 million ($31.8 million) fine over a hospitality program to entertain 176 foreign government officials at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

In a statement on Thursday morning, BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said the US Securities and Exchange Commission was enforcing an administrative order over the company’s failure to meet internal record keeping standards about its Olympic hospitality program, required under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the American Department of Justice was not taking any action.

Mr Mackenzie said no finding of bribery or corrupt intent had been made by US authorities. Instead, the SEC had found BHP Billiton’s Olympic hospitality program was not governed by an “independent compliance function”.

The officials entertained on $16,000 individual packages included those involved in contract negotiations or regulatory dealings such as the company’s efforts to obtain access rights.

In a statement, the SEC found  BHP Billiton failed to devise and maintain sufficient internal controls over the Beijing hospitality program which had the company paying all expenses for 60 foreign government officials as well as some spouses and others who attended along with them…

An Australian Federal Police investigation into alleged bribery involving BHP Billiton continues.

Note

AusCham’s position on corruption and bribery is ‘zero tolerance’. For full details of AusCham’s Position Statement, click here.

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