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Dec 17, 2018

Glencore's Katanga unit agrees to settlement in OSC probe

Katanga Mining seeks settlement with OSC

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Glencore Plc’s Congolese copper and cobalt unit has agreed to settle with Canada’s Ontario Securities Commission over an investigation into its accounting, the two sides said, without disclosing the terms of the settlement.

The settlement would also cover several current and former executives and directors at the unit, Katanga Mining Ltd., including Glencore’s head of copper trading Aristotelis Mistakidis, whose retirement was announced earlier this month.

The settlement agreement will be considered at a public hearing on Tuesday, according to separate statements from Katanga and the OSC on Monday. Mistakidis and two other Glencore executives stepped down as directors of Katanga last year after an internal review had found "material weaknesses" in its financial reporting controls.

Katanga, which is 86 per cent owned by Glencore, said that it was required to keep the terms of the settlement agreement confidential until the hearing. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Katanga and the individual executives and directors would pay more than US$22 million to Canada’s biggest stock market regulator.

In a separate document, the OSC set out its allegations against Katanga and the individuals. The document alleges that:

Katanga overstated its copper production by about 8,000 tons in 2014 after the Glencore directors on its board "participated in instructing management" to report output at a certain level. It did so, in part, by issuing a provisional invoice to Glencore for "6,650 tonnes of non-existent copper cathode" dated Dec. 31, 2014.

Katanga "failed to disclose the risks posed by its reliance" on individuals and entities associated with Dan Gertler, the Israeli businessman who was placed under U.S. sanctions last year for allegedly corrupt deals in Congo. Katanga relied upon and paid associates of Gertler to "maintain relations with the DRC government and for a variety of other services which required interactions with DRC government officials to represent Katanga’s interests". Katanga paid a total of US$146 million in royalty and pas de porte payments to a company associated with Gertler between 2013 and 2015.