Glencore, media battles and the pitfalls of fighting a multinational

Glencore, media battles and the pitfalls of fighting a multinational

There was one simple goal: to find out how much income tax was paid by Glencore, Australia’s biggest coal miner. Our quest had more spills than a Blues Brothers movie. We were met with the threat of a lawsuit, newspaper editors caving in with grovelling apologies, weeks of company searches costing hundreds of dollars, a hostile PR offensive run in rival media and the mining lobby and were still none the wiser.

Glencore Investment Pty Limited

Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, the history of this global miner and commodities trader has all the hallmarks of a gripping corporate thriller, if anybody were game to write it. Founder Marc Rich was indicted in the US on federal charges of tax evasion and striking controversial oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis.

Glencore’s tax position remains unclear

Ivan Glasenberg lost half a billion dollars in one trading session last month. It was the day Glencore shares were hammered 30 per cent in the wake of an analyst warning about the group’s enormous debts. Glasenberg, chief executive of the Swiss commodities...

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