Glencore, bringing the Garden Bridge and child labour together

Founding Garden Bridge sponsor Glencore are often described as “controversial“. After a quick search, knee deep in PR, their activities read like a blueprint for the heartless incorporated pursuit of profit:

  • Bribe and/or cut a deal with powerful
  • Steal assets
  • Use the local police and death squads
  • Use child labour
  • Poison water
  • Trade stolen commodities
  • Speculate on hunger
  • Evade taxes

Joanna Lumley, children from Tilwezembe mine

Children from Glencore’s Tilwezembe mine


Glencore are a commodity traders and mining corporation who operate in “frontier regions” and “challenging political jurisdictions“. Glencore

Glencore “continues to place the maximisation of profits and the minimisation of its tax payments above respect for human rights and the environment“. SwissInfo

Bribe and/or cut a deal

  • Partner with a local fixer ForeignPolicy
  • In Democratic Republic Congo, Glencore partner Dan Gertler is close to President Joseph Kabila. Gertler has negotiated with US on behalf of Congo. Kabila was a military dictator who now wins elections, sometimes with 100% of the vote. Bloomberg | NYTimes
  • In Russia, Glencore partner right-wing nationalist oligarch Mikhail Gutseriev, who seems to hire “busloads of armed guardsForeignPolicy
  • Glencore bribed Saddam Hussein for a big cut of the UN oil for food programme NYTimes | BusinessInsider
  • Secret payments to Australian political parties were “donation errors” not bribes Guardian | CommissionWatch
  • Fined for bribing EU official. Reuters | Bloomberg
  • Glencore founder Mark Rich was a fugitive for corporate crimes. In his last hours as president Bill Clinton pardoned Rich. Rich’s wife paid millions over to the Clintons and payback support for Hilary still rolls in. NYTimes | NYPost
  • Glencore pay Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson vast amounts of money for little work ThisIsMoney | DailyMail

Steal assets

In Congo Dan Gertler secretly buys state assets at knock down prices, sells them offshore to Glencore, making huge profits for all involved. Bloomberg | Guardian | GlobalWitness | Reuters

Police & paramilitary

  • Glencore’s South African partner is Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa was the Mining Union General-Secretary as it negotiated with a mining company he part owned in a country where he was to become vice president. Xstrata/Glencore held a 30% share of the mine. The Police shot 120 striking miners killing 34. Guardian | Wikipedia
  • In Congo Police kill with impunity and arrest arbitrarily to protect Glencore interests RAID | Update
  • In Colombia Glencore hired known paramilitary killers to drive farmers off land wanted for open cast mine BBC | ColombiaReports PAX
  • In Peru Glencore co-opted state forces to repress resistance Ecologist
  • Colombian villagers forced off farm into drought lands Independent


  • Panorama found child labour at a Glencore copper mine BBC | Telegraph
  • Labour rights in Congo are “constantly violatedFacingFinance


Trade stolen commodities

Exposed in court as trading stolen West African oil. Guardian

Speculate on hunger

Glencore bet that food prices would rise and then called on drought struck Russia to ban wheat export, putting global prices through the roof. Guardian | AlJazeera

Evade taxes

Occupied territories

With multiple interests Glencore are complicit in the violent 40 year Moroccan military occupation of Western Sahara, in defiance of the UN, the ICJ and the African Union. WarOnWant


  • IMF accuses Glencore of secret deals with Congo Government Reuters
  • UN report concluded Glencore bribed Iraq Oil For Food programme Fox
  • Serious Fraud Office investigated Congo bribes ThisIsMoney
  • Zambia tax rip off report suppressed by EIB Bank Guardian | TaxJustice

My other posts on Garden Bridge sponsors:

Ian Taylor, the Garden Bridge and war

The Garfield Weston Foundation: A foundation of misery