Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - BHP bribery scandal puts Aussie police in hot water

BHP bribery scandal puts Aussie police in hot water

BHP bribery scandal puts Aussie police in hot water

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have come under fire for a failure to investigate the BHP Billiton corruption scandal in which the mining giant is alleged to have bribed government officials in Cambodia and China, according to a report published yesterday in the Australian newspaper The Age.

Confidential documents obtained by The Age reveal that US anti-corruption investigators were critical of the AFP and Australia’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, for closing the bribery case in 2011 without conducting any individual investigations after it was referred to them by US investigators in May 2010.

The AFP recently re-opened the bribery case after a self-initiated review, The Age reports.

Documents obtained by the Fairfax Media-owned newspaper show that in May 2010 Australian authorities were warned that US investigators had found evidence that BHP Billiton was allegedly “paying bribes to foreign public officials”.

The claims stem from a Global Witness investigation in 2009 questioning BHP payments to the Cambodian government of $3.5 million, for which the London-based NGO could not trace back to government accounts for mining concessions.

The Age previously reported in March that Prime Minister Hun Sen had closely overseen negotiations with BHP before an agreement on a mining concession for exploration of bauxite in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province was signed in 2006.

BHP shut down it’s exploration activities in Cambodia in 2009 citing the global financial crisis and Cambodia’s “own poor financial management”,diplomatic cables obtained by The Age reveal.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the