GM material supplier Glencore was recently found guilty on bribery and manipulation charges, and has agreed to roughly $1.5 billion in settlements, one of the largest anti-corruption fines ever made. Glencore is a Swiss commodity and mining company that is currently engaged in a partnership to supply GM with cobalt, a material needed for the production of electric vehicle batteries.
According to a report from Automotive News, as sourced from Bloomberg, Glencore plead guilty to a list of charges following the conclusion of several legal probes in the U.S., the U.K, and Brazil. Glencore still faces ongoing investigations in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
This isn’t the first time Glencore has faced legal scrutiny. Ever since the company’s founding by alleged financial criminal Marc Rich in 1974, Glencore has been at the center of controversy, with allegations of bribery, manipulation, and other ethics violations throughout its history.
According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, who spoke on the recent settlements during a press conference, “bribery was built into the corporate culture [at Glencore].” According to Williams, Glencore paid out over $100 million in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Venezuela. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the corruption and manipulation focus of this latest investigation was ongoing between 2007 through at least 2018.
“We acknowledge the misconduct identified in these investigations and have cooperated with authorities,” said Glencore CEO Gary Nagle in a recent statement. “This type of behavior has no place in Glencore, and the board, management team and I are very clear about the culture we want and our commitment to be a responsible and ethical operator wherever we work.”
Back in April, GM announced a new multi-year supply agreement with Glencore to source cobalt, used in the automaker’s lithium-ion batteries to create cathodes. The partnership provides GM with access to cobalt from Glencore’s Murrin Murrin mining operation in Australia. GM aims to sell 400,000 battery-powered vehicles globally by 2023, with the goal of becoming the North American EV market leader by 2025.