SFO launches criminal investigation into ENRC

The FTSE-100 mining group said it is “committed to a full and transparent investigation of its procedures and conduct”.

New Statesman
ENRC's Ferroalloys operations. Credit: ENRC.

The Serious Fraud Office has launched a criminal investigation into Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) amid allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption relating to the activities of the company or its subsidiaries in Kazakhstan and Africa.

The agency, part of the UK criminal justice system, had first begun an official probe into ENRC before its potential restructuring was announced last week, reported the Financial Times citing people familiar with the investigation.

Earlier, SFO demanded documents from Law firm Dechert, who was appointed to investigate those assets and then report findings to the agency. Dechert’s report on Kazakhstan had already been handed to the SFO.

However, Dechert was replaced in late March. The SFO then served a Section 2a notice to ENRC demanding documents at a pre-investigation stage when it suspects overseas bribery.

The Dechert replacement was part of a big turnover of ENRC’s advisers and many of its board members and senior employees, including Alex Gaft, a senior corporate investigator who was examining conduct at the group’s large iron ore division, reported FT.

Earlier this week, Mehmet Dalman, chairman of ENRC, has announced his resignation amid allegations of corruption.

ENRC is controlled by three Central Asian oligarchs, Kazakhmys, a London-listed miner, and the government of Kazakhstan.