20 May 2015
- U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to take no action
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation that commenced in 2009 resolved on all matters
- No findings of bribery or corrupt intent
- DOJ’s ‘no action’ and SEC resolution conclude the U.S. investigations
- SEC imposes a civil penalty relating to accounting provisions of the FCPA
- SEC notes BHP Billiton’s “significant cooperation” and “significant remedial actions”
- SEC findings relate to BHP Billiton’s internal controls and books and records governing its hospitality program at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
BHP Billiton today announced the resolution of the previously disclosed investigation by the SEC into potential breaches of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The DOJ has also completed its investigation into BHP Billiton without taking any action.
The investigations related primarily to previously terminated minerals exploration and development efforts as well as hospitality provided by the Company at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This concludes the US investigations on all matters.
BHP Billiton will continue to cooperate with the Australian Federal Police investigation, which was announced in 2013.
The matter is being resolved with the SEC pursuant to an administrative order which imposes a US$25 million civil penalty. The SEC Order makes no findings of corrupt intent or bribery by BHP Billiton.
The findings announced today by the SEC relate to a hospitality program hosted by BHP Billiton which supported its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. As part of this program, the Company invited customers, suppliers, business partners, and government officials, along with Company employees, to the Olympic Games. While BHP Billiton made efforts at the time to address the risks related to inviting government officials to the Olympics, the controls it relied upon were insufficient to satisfy the civil books and records and internal accounting controls requirements of the U.S. statute.
The SEC noted the “significant cooperation” BHP Billiton provided during the extensive investigation, which commenced in 2009. It also noted the “significant remedial actions” the Company has taken over the past five years to enhance its compliance program.
At the time of its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, BHP Billiton had no independent compliance function. Instead, accountability for complying with the Company’s anti-corruption policies, which were set out in the Company’s Guide to Business Conduct, was vested in its operating business units. The Company has since created an independent compliance function that reports to the head of the legal function and the Risk & Audit Committee of the BHP Billiton Board. Today this function would be required to approve any offer of hospitality of this kind to a government official. Under the SEC Order, BHP Billiton will self-report on its compliance program for twelve months.
BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie said, “We have fully cooperated with the SEC throughout this process. We have taken the appropriate remedial actions and developed a world class compliance program that builds on the strong policies we have had in place. BHP Billiton operates a global resources business and recognises that the highest standards of business conduct are an essential part of our operations. Our Company has learned from this experience and is better and stronger as a result.”
This release was made outside the hours of operation of the ASX market announcements office.