In 2011, the European Investment Bank suspended loans to Glencore over governance concerns, particularly in connection with allegations of tax evasion at Glencore´s Mopani Copper mine in Zambia1. Although the investigation was finalized in 2012, the EIB has restrained from publishing the results despite holding to its decision to let the loans remain frozen. Christian Aid, a British development charity, has been urging the EIB to make the results of their investigation into Mopani Copper mines public2. Even in April 2014, the EIB had yet to publish their findings. Several NGOs wrote a letter to the EIB´s president to demand transparency in the matter3.
According to an update given by the European Investment Bank in July 2014, they consider the case as closed (without publishing the report) as they no longer have any contractual obligation with Glencore or Mopani Copper Mines. They also argued that they had been informed by Glencore “that the Zambian Revenue Authorities had completed an audit and that all outstanding issues were satisfactorily resolved.” However, the EIB did not get any details on this from the Zambian authorities themselves4.
The British organisation Christian Aid appealed to the European Ombusman after this. Emily O’Reilly opened her own investigation into the matter and concluded in December 2014 that “The EIB should reconsider its refusal to grant access to the investigation report of its Inspectorate-General and decide either to grant access to a redacted version of the report or, should this not be possible, to at least provide the complainant with a meaningful summary of the main findings of the investigation report.”5
In March 2015, the Ombusman took up her critique, accusing the European Investment Bank of ‘maladministration’ in the Mopani issue and their statements concerning the matter as “not adequately reflecting the information contained in the investigation report“. In their reaction, the EIB said they were examinin gthe decision.6
- BBC (2011): EIB freezes Glencore lending on governance concerns, 1 June, accessed 2.9.2013 [↩]
- This is Money (2013): European Investment Bank is taxed by secret report into Glencore, 4 July, accessed 2.9.2013 [↩]
- The Guardian (2014): European Investment Bank accused of suppressing Zambian mining report. 3 April, accessed 22.4.2014 [↩]
- EIB (2014): Update on the status of the EIB loan for the Mopani Copper Project, Zambia, 25 July (accessed 30.09.2014) [↩]
- European Ombusman (2014): Draft recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 349/2014/OV against the European Investment Bank (EIB), 5 December (accessed 10.12.2014) [↩]
- This is Money (2015): EU watchdog gives European Investment Bank a lashing over role in Glencore tax row, 17 March (accessed 30.03.2015) [↩]