(Corrects first paragraph after BHP clarifies that statement on Olympic sponsorship followed media inquiries)
CANBERRA, March 13 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton Ltd said it was co-operating in an investigation into possible violations of anti-corruption laws, and said in response to media reports that it believed its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics had complied with all applicable laws.
The Australian Financial Review said on Wednesday that allegations BHP provided inducements, hospitality and gifts to Chinese and other foreign officials were the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The U.S. Justice Department told the AFR, in response to a freedom of information request, it was conducting “law enforcement proceedings” involving BHP, which supplied materials for the gold, silver and bronze medals used in Beijing.
The paper reported that between 2000 and 2008, BHP spent millions of dollars on a major Olympics sponsorship deal and hospitality package which according to a former China staffer involved more than 170 VIPs, including senior government officials and Chinese steel and mineral company CEOs. (Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by John Mair)