Mining company BHP Billiton to pay $25 million to settle SEC anti-bribery charges

BHP Billiton has agreed to pay $25 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it violated anti-bribery laws by paying for the travel packages of government officials during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

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The SEC says the mining company brought 60 government officials to the Olympics, paying as much as $16,000 for each official and their guests. Travel packages included event tickets, stays at a luxury hotel and sightseeing excursions. Most of the government officials were from countries in Asia and Africa.

The SEC says BHP Billiton paid for the accommodations knowing that it could violate anti-bribery laws.

In settling the case, BHP Billiton did not admit or deny any wrongdoing. The company says that it cooperated with the SEC and has strengthened its policies.