The worlds biggest commodity trader Glencore is facing the possibility of a bribery investigation by British prosecutors over its work with Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire and close friend of Congo President Joseph Kabila.
Thats on top of other disputes, like a conflict with Gertler over unpaid royalties. The Swiss trader is also fighting the government over a new mining code that hikes taxes, and is part of a court case with Congos state-owned miner Gecamines, which is pushing to dissolve a local operating unit, saying Glencore overburdened it with debt.The Glencore unit says the debt situation is solvable and dissolving the business is premature.
Still, the legal challenges cast a shadow over Glencore and highlight the risks of doing business in the central African nation. In the last 10 years, while other major competitors such as Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. turned away from Congos rich resources, unnerved by the difficulty of operating in the country, Glencores chief Ivan Glasenberg invested heavily.