LONDON Dec 11 Kazakh miner ENRC
is examining existing allegations of corruption at a Kazakh iron
ore subsidiary but denied on Sunday that it was the subject of a
formal investigation by Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The Sunday Times said the fraud watchdog had launched an
inquiry into corruption allegations, and said London-listed ENRC
had been told to hand over details of an investigation into
operations in Kazakhstan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In an unsourced report, the newspaper said lawyers working
for the three-man audit committee at ENRC had examined claims
that money had been siphoned off from SSGPO, an ENRC offshoot
that runs an iron ore business in Kazakhstan.
The Times reported in August that ENRC had earlier in the
year brought in investigators amid claims of financial
irregularities at its Kazakh operations.
An ENRC spokeswoman told Reuters on Sunday there was no
formal SFO investigation into the FTSE 100-listed company.
"The internal audit committee investigations and liaison
with appropriate regulators, including the SFO, is entirely
normal practice for a major company that is serious about
investigating all allegations properly, and striving to meet
corporate governance best practice," she said.
The Sunday Times said the SFO was looking for details not
only about allegations of corruption within Kazakh operations,
but also about the disputed purchase of a Congo copper business
last year and the way in which ENRC's African offshoots are run.
The Sunday Times added ENRC and its advisers had been
summoned to a meeting at which the SFO warned the miner that the
watchdog reserves the right to raid the offices of directors and
executives if the company fails to co-operate.
ENRC did not comment on the meetings.
The Serious Fraud Office could not be reached for comment.
Sunday's news report comes just over two months after the
miner concluded a major corporate governance review.