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BHP Billiton faces SEC probe

World Coal,

BHP Billiton is facing an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding possible violations of anti-corruption laws. The issues relate to “matters in connection with previously terminated exploration and development efforts, as well as hospitality provided as part of the Company’s sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” according to a company press release.

The inquiry was triggered following a request for information from the SEC in August 2009. This resulted in an internal investigation at BHP Billiton, which uncovered “evidence of possible violations of anti-corruption laws involving interactions with foreign government officials”. This results of the internal investigation were disclosed to the relevant authorities, including the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The SEC and DOJ have now notified the group of the issues they consider could form the basis of enforcement actions and discussions are continuing.

The Australian Federal Police has also indicated that it has commenced an investigation. 

Edited from various sources by Jonathan Rowland

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