BHP Billiton in Corruption Probe over Beijing Olympics

Created: 2013-03-13 11:51 EST

Category: China
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Mining giant BHP Billiton has confirmed today it’s being investigated for corruption, over sponsorship deals for the Beijing Olympics. 
 
The US Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police are trying to uncover whether BHP’s sponsorship was used to gain advantage in the Chinese market. 
 
The US-Australian mining company supplied the materials for the Olympic medals. It also spent millions on official sponsorship and hospitality packages. Among the VIPs it hosted were senior Communist officials and other Chinese company executives.
 
BHP is the largest mining company in the world and China is its biggest market. Business favors such as these are not uncommon in Chinese companies. But in the US, paying for the entertainment and lodging of government officials breaches foreign bribery laws.
 
BHP says it’s cooperating with investigations. It says it did nothing wrong and that it complied with US and Australian anti-graft laws. 
 
If found guilty in the US, BHP and the individuals involved face up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $2 million dollars.