sharing in governance of extractive industries

News round-up: offshore scandals in West Africa, the new conflict mineral and more

A semi-regular round-up of the latest news re: the extractive sector and transparency. You can also read the post, with images and GIFs, here.

Quick News

  • Things are going from bad to worse for Glencore in DRC, with the company potentially facing a bribery investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office. According to Bloomberg, the SFO's interest stems from Glencore's dealings with businessman Dan Gertler.
  • Nine former executives and contractors from ENI and Shell are currently on trial in Italy, accused of having paid bribes to secure an offshore license. For more on this story, and its relationship with the Malabu oil scandal, read this Reuters report.
  • NRGI launched Open Data: Jade Myanmar, a website to strengthen understanding of the sector through data stories, data tools and datasets. The website draws from data released through EITI and the Myanmar Gems Enterprise.
  • Global Witness has released its 2017 annual report, dedicated to the theme of corruption.

#WestAfricaleaks investigation into offshore finance

The ICIJ, working with Cenozo and journalists from more than 11 West African countries, analysed millions of leaked documents related to offshore finance. Specifically, the Panama and Paradise Papers, as well as those relating to the Offshore and Swiss Leaks (see the ICIJ Offshore Leaks database).

This investigation resulted in stories exposing “the financial secrets of some of West Africa’s most powerful politicians, moguls and corporations.” The articles cover a range of different issues, here are links to a few of the extractives-related ones:

  • Liberia: Sirleaf’s envoy and maid-of-honor linked to controversial mining company
  • Ghana: Dr. Bawuah-Edusei: A former Ambassador, his offshore companies and a $305m oil deal
  • Nigeria: Dantata’s MRS, Chevron, Billion Naira Deal Raises Tax Avoidance Concern 

Talc, the new diamond?

We’re all familiar with blood diamonds, but Global Witness recently revealed that a much more mundane mineral also contributes to conflict: talc. IS fighters in Afghanistan are making money through the illegal mining of the mineral, with much of the talc ending up in the US and Europe. It’s hard to calculate just how much IS is making, but a ‘reasonable’ mid-range estimate put the figure ‘somewhere in the hundreds of thousands’. The report goes on to clarify that while this amount may not seem large, it could nevertheless be a significant source of funding, given that IS fighters in the country are thought to number less than a thousand.

And now for something completely different…

In case your burning question about the royal wedding was the provenance of Meghan's wedding band, you can set your mind at rest. The ring – as is apparently traditional for royals – was made out of Welsh gold, originating from the  Clogau St. David mine in northwest Wales.

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