Steelworkers Call For Freeport Probe

The United Steelworkers have called for the US Justice Department to investigate whether Freeport McMoRan has violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

The United Steelworkers sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department requesting a foreign-bribery investigation into Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Citing reports in the Indonesian media, the union argued that payments to police from Phoenix, Ariz.-based Freeport-McMoRan’s local subsidiary in the Indonesian province of Papua constitute bribes.

“We believe that it is reasonable to construe direct payments by PT Freeport Indonesia to police and military personnel providing security for its operation…as a bribe intended to persuade the personnel to act in defense of Freeport-McMoRan’s interests even when those interests conflict with the police and military personnel’s lawful duty to protect Indonesian people,” the letter said (pdf).

The union said those payments are bribes under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars the bribery of foreign officials for business purposes.

A Justice Department official declined to comment.

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