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Glencore

Glencore

Industry: 
Energy, Financial Services
Value of USG Contracts: 
20
States: 
CA
CT
MT
PA
TN
TX
Country: 
Switzerland
Contact Information: 
Sources: 

"While Western powers have identified a small group of sectors for Iranian sanction relief, a much wider set of European and U.S. companies—from pharmaceutical firms and medical-equipment makers to food companies and traders—also stands to regain lost Iranian trade as soon as relief measures are formally adopted next month…Affiliates of Switzerland-based commodities company Glencore Xstrata sold as much as $111 million in agricultural goods and metals to Iranian state entities in the second quarter of this year, according to disclosures by one of these affiliates to the SEC. A spokesman for Glencore Xstrata declined to comment on its Iranian plans." (Wall Street Journal, "Iran Deal Opens Door for Businesses," 12/1/13)

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"Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN), the largest publicly traded commodities supplier, is conducting business with Iran even as competitors abandon the country, potentially drawing scrutiny from regulators. Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Century Aluminum Co. (CENX), in which Glencore owns 41.8 percent, show non-U.S. affiliates of Glencore 'entered into sales contracts for agricultural products as well as purchase contracts for metals with Iranian entities' last quarter…Foreign companies have abandoned Iran after the country’s nuclear program prompted U.S., European Union and United Nations trade sanctions. Glencore competitors Trafigura Beheer BV and Vitol SA have halted crude-oil purchases from Iran as regulators move to end transactions with the Islamic republic. The Iranian entities conducting business with affiliates of Glencore were either fully or majority owned by the government, according to the SEC filing, which was first reported by American Metal Market. Glencore said it’s not violating laws. 'Glencore Xstrata does comply with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions,' the Baar, Switzerland-based company said in a statement. 'We are closely monitoring all new legal developments to ensure that we continue to be in compliance.' Maintaining trading ties to Iran may draw scrutiny not only of Glencore but of its banks and insurers as well, according to Biersteker. 'They are taking a gamble,' he said. The company may face difficulty insuring transactions and shipping materials, he said…Glencore hasn’t disclosed the names of the companies it’s conducting business with in Iran." (Bloomberg, "Glencore Trades With Iran Even AS Competitors Depart," 8/30/13)

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"New York's top financial regulator has expanded a probe into whether reinsurance companies have written policies on international trade with Iran, which could potentially violate new U.S. sanctions. In a letter posted to its website on Wednesday, the state's Department of Financial Services asked reinsurers to explain their dealings with entities and people that have ties to Iran. The department also asked reinsurers to explain procedures in place to ensure compliance with the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, which took effect on July 1. Twenty reinsurers are getting the letter, including Hannover Re, Lloyd's of London and Swiss Re, a person familiar with the matter said. Those reinsurers were among those contacted last month by the regulator, whose superintendent is Benjamin Lawsky, over their dealings involving Iran. Lawsky opened his probe after news reports that Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata Plc and Trafigura AG had supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that provided aluminum for Iran's nuclear program. The new law bans financial services companies that do business in the United States, such as insurers and reinsurers, from providing services to companies that trade with Iran." (Reuters, "NY Regulator Expands Probe into Reinsurers' Iran Ties," 7/24/2013)

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"Glencore, a commodity trading house run by the billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, traded $659m (£430m) of goods, including aluminium oxide, to Iran last year, the Guardian has established... At the time of the Glencore and Trafigura trades with Iralco, it was not illegal or a breach of sanctions to supply Iran with alumina. It is unknown whether Glencore or Trafigura's alumina passed from Iralco to Tesa, or whether it was used in centrifuge construction... Glencore said it 'ceased transactions' with Iralco immediately when it learned of its links with Tesa, and the last trade was in October 2012. 'Prior to EU sanctions in December 2012, we were not aware of a link/contract between Iralco and Tesa,' the company said in a statement. Glencore said it is 'reliant on the relevant regulatory bodies/governments to advise us on developments in who we can/can't do business with'... The question surrounding Glencore's role in unintentionally potentially helping arm a nuclear Iran comes as Obama ramps up pressure on Tehran to end its atomic weapons programme... Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the UN, said Glencore's dealings with Iran were 'completely unacceptable', adding: 'We might expect this from a Russian or Chinese company, but the truth is that even those companies usually stay away from this sort of exposure.' Glencore said it 'complies with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions. We closely monitor all new legal developments to ensure that we continue to be in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.'... The Guardian has learned that Glencore traded $659m worth of metals, wheat and coal with Iranian entities during 2012. Buried deep in its annual report, one of Glencore's US affiliates, Century Aluminum 46% owned by Glencore, states: 'During 2012 non-US affiliates of the largest stockholder of the company [Glencore] entered into sales contracts for wheat and coal as well as sale and purchase contracts for metal oxides and metals with Iranian entities, which are either fully or majority owned by the GOI [government of Iran].' Glencore declined to state how much of the $659m it dealt with Iran in 2012 was related to alumina/aluminium. The trades were not illegal or against sanctions at the time. It is not the first time Glencore's activities have attracted controversy. Last year the head of its food trading business said the worst drought to hit the US since the 1930s would be 'good for Glencore' because it would lead to opportunities to exploit soaring prices." (The Guardian, "Glencore traded with Iranian supplier to nuclear weapon's programme," 4/21/2013) 

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"Affiliates of Glencore International PLC, the world’s largest publicly traded commodity supplier, entered into sales contracts last year with entities controlled by Iran, according to Century Aluminum Corp. Non-U.S. affiliates of Glencore, Century’s largest shareholder, entered into sales contracts for wheat and coal and sale and purchase contracts for metals and metal oxides, Monterey, California-based Century said today in filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission...  Century was spun off from Glencore in 1996. Glencore owned 47 percent of Century as of Dec. 31, according to the filing." (Bloomberg, "Glencore Affiliates Sold Commodities to Iran, Century Says," 3/18/2013)

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"Commodities giant Glencore had supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that provided aluminum to Iran's nuclear program, Reuters reported last week, citing intelligence and diplomatic sources... Switzerland-based Glencore also said last week that its deal had ended when EU sanctions targeting Iralco came into force. It said its barter contract was legal and denied any wrongdoing by the firm or attempts to help Iran bypass sanctions." (Reuters, "Second trading firm says it supplied Iranian firm linked to atomic work," 3/5/2013)

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"Commodities giant Glencore supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that has provided aluminum to Iran's nuclear program, intelligence and diplomatic sources told Reuters. The previously undisclosed barter arrangement between Glencore, the world's biggest commodities trader, and the Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco) illustrates how difficult it is for Western powers to curb Iran's ability to trade with the rest of the world. Even as the West imposes stringent restrictions on banks that do business with Iran, United Nations diplomats say that Tehran keeps finding new ways to do business with willing partners. Reuters first learned about Glencore's barter deal with Iralco, and an aluminum supply contract that Iralco had with Iran Centrifuge Technology Co (TESA), from a Western diplomatic source in early November. That was about six weeks before the European Union's December 2012 decision to levy sanctions on Iralco for supplying aluminum metal to TESA, which is a subsidiary of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). The source showed Reuters a Western intelligence report concerning Glencore's arrangement with Iralco. It described how Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore provided Iralco with thousands of tons of alumina last year in exchange for a lesser amount of aluminum metal... It is not known whether any of the aluminum produced by Iralco from Glencore's alumina raw material actually ended up with TESA... In a statement to Reuters, Glencore said it first learned about the TESA-Iralco relationship in December and immediately 'ceased transactions' with Iralco. It said its last actual trade as part of the barter arrangement was in October 2012, two months before the EU move. Glencore acknowledged that it did sign the barter deal with Iralco in August 2011, saying it was perfectly legal and denied any wrongdoing by the firm or attempts to help Iran bypass sanctions. It declined to provide details about the barter deal, the value of which is unclear... Glencore had supplied Iralco with about five tons of alumina for every ton of aluminum that Glencore received in return, according to the intelligence report. Given that on average it takes only about two tons of alumina to produce one ton of aluminum, the barter deal may have left Iralco with more aluminum after processing the alumina than it supplied to Glencore. Iralco covered costs inside Iran, while all activity involving foreign currency payments was covered by Glencore, including shipping costs and insurance, according to the intelligence report. In its statement, Glencore said: 'Glencore complies with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions. We closely monitor all new legal developments to ensure that we continue to be in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.'... Swiss authorities said they saw no evidence of U.N. or Swiss sanctions violations by Glencore. Iralco is not under U.S. or U.N. sanctions. The intelligence report described the Glencore deal as a good way for Tehran to get around global financial restrictions, though it did not say that Glencore violated sanctions... United Against Nuclear Iran, a U.S.-based lobby group that puts pressure on companies to cut off business with Iran, said Glencore's Iran business was 'reckless and improper' and urged the U.S. government to take action against the trading firm. 'Foreign entities that engage in improper business in Iran should be barred from U.S. markets  and have any U.S. assets frozen,' said Nathan Carleton, the group's spokesman. A banker in London who declined to be identified said the news about Iralco was unlikely to have a direct effect on Glencore's financing... A source close to Glencore said that Iralco received its last alumina shipment from Glencore in September while Glencore received its last delivery of aluminum from Iralco in October. The source declined to comment when asked if the firm continued to do other business with Iran. Glencore announced an end to its fuel sales to Iran in January 2010 to avoid breaching U.S. sanctions. The U.S. Treasury Department declined to comment specifically on Glencore's dealings with Iralco, though a Treasury official told Reuters anyone providing alumina to Iran can face U.S. sanctions under new rules taking effect on July 1... Glencore has been involved in controversies before. It was founded as ‘Marc Rich & Co' in 1974 by Marc Rich, who was charged by the U.S. authorities in the early 1980s with evading taxes and selling oil to Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis." (Reuters, "Exclusive: Glencore bartered with firm linked to Iran nuclear program," 3/1/2013)

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"Switzerland has previously expressed displeasure about sanctions against Iran, largely becaues it has represented U.S. interests in Iran for over 30 years. And, while Switzerland no longer imports Iranian oil, estimates show that one third of the world’s oil deals are brokered by five Swiss-based commodity-trading firms – Glencore GLEN.LN +1.25%, Gunvor, Vitol, Trafigura and Mercuria." (The Wall Street Journal, "Treasury’s Cohen Heads to Switzerland, Turkey for Sanctions Talks," 8/31/2012)

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"Open sources reported that Glencore sold gasoline to Iran in 2009, but subsequently stopped in 2009." (U.S. Government Accountability Office, Report: "Firms Reported in Open Sources to Have Sold Iran Refined Petroleum Products between January 1, 2009 and June," September 3, 2010)

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"Glencore, a commodities trader, was a large supplier of gasoline to Iran, but stopped last year in the face of threatened new economic sanctions by the U.S. government.  The company, and its predecessor, Marc Rich and Co., had done business with Iran for more than three decades. It also has provided the United States military with transporation services, among other things."  From 2000-2009, the company has been the recipient of $20.2 million US federal funds.  They have withdrawn their activities in Iran. (The New York Times, "Profiting from Iran, and the US," 3/6/2010)

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"Swiss commodities trader Glencore International AG halted gasoline shipments to Iran two to three months ago, people familiar with the matter said, a response in part to the rising prospect of heftier sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program. Glencore declined to comment. Glencore has long been one of the biggest gasoline providers to Iran, and the move could frustrate Iran's ability to meet its country's fuel needs…The halt of Glencore's Iran business could also help the company prepare for an anticipated initial public offering. The U.S. House of Representatives last month passed legislation that bars any company that does more than $20 million in oil and gas business with Iran from doing business in the U.S. The Senate is expected to pass the bill early this year." (The Wall Street Journal, "Swiss Firm Halts Its Sales of Gas to Iran," 1/9/09)

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"Iran typically gets the bulk of its gasoline from the following five firms: Vitol (Switzerland/Netherlands), Trafigura (Switzerland/Netherlands), Reliance Industries Ltd. (India), Glencore (Switzerland) and Total (France)." (Stratfor, "Special Series:Iran Sanctions," September 2009)

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"Due to limited refining capabilities, Iran imports approximately 40% of its domestic gasoline consumption. Iran is the second-largest importer of gasoline in the world. That gasoline is supplied primarily by five companies: the Swiss-Dutch energy trading giants Vitol and Trafigura, the Indian multinational Reliance Industries, the Swiss trader Glencore and the French energy firm Total." (The Wall Street Journal, "Hitting Tehran Where It Hurts," 7/13/09)

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"Because of a lack of domestic refining capacity, oil-rich Iran is dependent on gasoline imports to meet about 40 percent of domestic consumption. Iran gets most of its gasoline imports from the Swiss firm Vitol, the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura, France's Total, the Swiss firm Glencore and British Petroleum, as well as the Indian firm Reliance." (Agence-France Press, "US lawmakers target Iran gasoline imports," 6/23/09)