Processing your request

please wait...

Enforcement Action Dataset


Initiation Date:    03/06/2023  Information

Prosecuting Agency:    U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Type of Action:    SEC Administrative Proceeding

Docket or Case Number:    3-21335

Name of Prosecuting Attorneys:   

  • Ansu N. Banerjee, SEC Headquarters
  • Sana Muttalib, SEC Headquarters

US Assisting Agencies:    Unknown

Foreign Enforcement Action/Investigation:    Unknown

Foreign Assistance:   

  • U.K. Serious Fraud Office (GB)
  • Australian Federal Police (AU)
  • Australian Securities & Investments Commission (AU)

Origin of the Proceeding:    Unknown

Whistleblower:    Unknown

Case Status:    Resolved

Summary  Information

Rio Tinto Group was comprised of two companies: Rio Tinto plc, a UK company whose shares traded on the London Stock Exchange and with American Depository Shares that traded on the NYSE, and Rio Tinto Ltd, an Australian company whose shares traded on the Australian Stock Exchange. Rio Tinto Group operated as a single economic enterprise with both companies jointly filing reports with the SEC, and the combined company was the world's second-largest metals and mining corporation, producing iron ore, copper, diamonds, gold and uranium.. The companies had a common board of directors, and shareholders had a common economic interest in both companies. Rio Tinto plc was the sole defendant in this action, and subsequent references to "Rio Tinto" refer to Rio Tinto plc specifically.

According to the documents in this case, in 2011, Rio Tinto hired a French investment banker and close friend of a former senior Guinean government official as a consultant to help the company retain its mining rights in the Simandou mountain region in Guinea. The consultant began working in March 2011 -- without Rio Tinto having conducted adequate due diligence -- and began representing Rio Tinto without a written agreement defining the scope of his services or deliverables. In all, Rio Tinto paid the consultant $10.5 million for his services. Shortly after Rio Tinto made an initial payment to the consultant, he attempted to transfer $822,506 from his Swiss bank account to a Hong Kong company owned by a Guinean national with links to government officials. However, the bank held up the transaction over concerns about the company’s ties to Guinean officials. Despite the consultant's assurances, the bank ultimately blocked the transaction. Independent of how the payments to the consultant were used, they were not accurately reflected in Rio Tinto’s books and records.

In a settled administrative proceeding initiated on March 6, 2023, the SEC ordered Rio Tinto to cease and desist violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA and further ordered the company to pay a civil fine of $15 million. The SEC noted Rio Tinto's cooperation and remediation.

Protected Content

Please Log In or Sign Up for a free account to access restricted features of the Clearinghouse website, including the Advanced Search form and the full case pages.

When you sign up, you will have the option to save your search queries performed on the Advanced Search form.