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SEC recommends no action against Gold Fields - Mining Mx

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

AN investigation by the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) into a R2.1bn black economic empowerment (BEE) deal by Gold Fields has recommended no action be taken against the South African miner.

Gold Fields said today in an announcement that the SEC's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit had said that "... based on the information available to them, will not recommend to the commission that enforcement action be taken against Gold Fields".

It emerged in September 2013 that the SEC had launched an investigation into Gold Fields, which is listed in New York, following a transaction in which 9% of the firm's west Rand gold project, South Deep, was sold to Invictus.

According to Gold Fields former chairwoman, Mamphela Ramphele, Invictus was not the firm's preferred empowerment partner, but it had been recommended to Gold Fields by the South African government.

Invictus consists of some 73 shareholders of which only 18 had been publicly named. This has led to criticism that Gold Fields had been less than transparent. Baleka Mbete, chairperson of the African National Congress was a shareholder in Invictus along with a number of other politically-connected individuals.

"The South African government had shoved the list of some of Invictus Gold’s black economic empowerment shareholders down Gold Fields’ throat, with an ultimatum that if the preferred names were not taken on board it would be denied a mining licence," Ramphele told Business Day, a newspaper, in 2013.

Gold Fields is not finally off the hook, however, as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) is investigating the transaction. Gold Fields has also conducted an independent investigation into the deal but is yet to release the report.

In addition to Mbete, Limpho Hani, wife of late South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani; Jerome Brauns SC, who represented President Jacob Zuma during his rape trial; former Springbok Ashwin Willemse; and Mandla Msimang, son of party stalwarts Mendi Msimang and the late Manto Tshabalala-Msimang were also Invictus members.

Gold Fields said today that today's notice "... must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result from the staff's investigation”.

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