CAPE TOWN - The activities of Glencore Plc, the world’s biggest commodity trader, are under scrutiny after a massive leak of confidential information from offshore law firm Appleby Global Group Services Ltd.
Glencore was one of the top clients of Appleby, which even had a "Glencore Room" at its Bermuda office that kept information on the trader’s 107 offshore companies, according to an investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Appleby suffered an alleged hack in 2016 and confidential data on the firm’s work for multinational corporations and high net-worth individuals was obtained by the ICIJ. The group and its partner media organisations are publishing a series of stories based on millions of pages of Appleby corporate records, meeting minutes and emails.
The so-called Paradise Papers include information relating to Glencore’s operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Australia, and involvement in a shipping business. Here’s what has been reported so far:
Congo: In 2009, Glencore made a $45 million loan to a company owned by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, the Guardian reported. While the details of the loan have been previously reported, the Appleby documents show that in return Gertler was required to secure certain approvals from the government, according to the UK newspaper. Gertler, a friend of Congolese president Joseph Kabila, has a controversial reputation. Last year, he was implicated in a scheme to bribe Congolese officials on behalf of US hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to a person familiar with the details of that case.