BHP Billiton Targeted In U.S.-Australian Bribery Investigation
BHP Billiton is the subject of a joint US-Australian bribery investigation into the firm's dealings with foreign officials, "including Chinese dignitaries wooed as part of a multimillion-dollar hospitality and sponsorship program for the 2008 Beijing Olympics," according to McKenzie, Baker & Garnaut of THE AGE. The allegations are the "subject of a probe" by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police. The company declined to respond to questions from Fairfax Media sent on Tuesday morning about "alleged impropriety" linked to the Beijing Games and activities in Western Australia, other than to say it believed ''our Olympics activities complied with all applicable law." Investigators are scrutinizing activities of BHP Billiton in the lead-up to and during the Beijing Olympics. Between 2000 and 2008, the company "spent millions on a major Olympics sponsorship deal and a hospitality package." The deal, according to the resume of one Chinese BHP Billiton employee, involved "more than 170 VIPs including senior government officials and CEOs of Chinese minerals/ steel industry" (THE AGE, 3/13). In Sydney, Fitzgerald & Murdoch reported BHP Billiton believes it has "nothing to fear" from an ongoing US-Australian anti-graft probe. BHP said, "We believe our Olympics activities complied with all applicable law." It added that its policies "specifically prohibit engaging in bribery in all its forms" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/14).