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Rio Tinto faces SEC probe

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World Coal,

Rio Tinto has confirmed that it is under investigation by the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) over a US$3 billion impairment charge the company booked in its 2012 accounts on its Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (RTCM) assets.

The Anglo-Australian mining company purchased the assets for US$3.7 billion in 2011 in what proved to be one of the more disastrous acquisitions in the company’s history. The assets were eventually sold for just US$50 million, but not before claiming the scalp of Rio’s former CEO Tom Albanese.

It was unclear why the SEC has chosen to investigate the impairment charge and Rio provided no further comment except to confirm the investigation.

It is the second scandal the company has been caught up in recently, following the unrelated discovery of a multi-million dollar payment to a consultant who helped the company to secure mining rights to an iron ore deposit in Guinea.

A review of the payment by an external law firm resulted in the sacking of two senior executives. Authorities in the US, the UK and Australia are still deciding whether to investigate.

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Australia coal news Rio Tinto coal news