BHP faces possible US anti-corruption action

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Mining giant BHP Billiton today said that US authorities have laid out grounds for possible action against the group as they step up a four-year probe linked partly to its sponsorship of the 2008 Olympics.

BHP has been under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) since 2009, mainly over exploration activities that had been terminated and its hospitality at the Beijing games.

The firm, which is also facing an investigation from federal police in Australia, said today: “As a part of the US process, the SEC and DOJ have recently notified the group of the issues they consider could form the basis of enforcement actions and discussions are continuing.”

The group said it was co-operating “fully” with the authorities but said it would not be appropriate to comment further or predict an outcome to the probes.

It added: “BHP Billiton is fully committed to operating with integrity and the group’s policies specifically prohibit engaging in unethical conduct. BHP Billiton has what it considers to be a world class anti-corruption compliance programme.”