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Investigators recommend no 'enforcement action' be taken against Gold Fields - Business Day

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A CORRUPTION investigation by US authorities found no reason to pursue Gold Fields, but the company has not been entirely exonerated in the R2.1bn empowerment deal it agreed to in 2010 to secure the mining rights over South Deep.

Gold Fields attracted the attention of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US for the transaction that included parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete and 72 other individuals, some of them with links to political figures.

Gold Fields, which has steadfastly maintained it had done no wrong, said on Monday the corruption unit will inform the SEC that, based on the information it has, it will not recommend "enforcement action" against Gold Fields.

Gold Fields did point out, however, that the recommendation by the unit came with the provisions set out in an SEC document related to how the commission deals with parties under investigation.

The SEC document said it was difficult in some cases to say an investigation had ended "because an investigation believed to have been concluded may be reactivated as a result of unforeseen developments". It said if a party were advised by SEC staff that a formal investigation had been terminated it would be on a discretionary basis.

"Even if such advice is given, however, it must in no way be construed as indicating the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result from the staff’s investigation of that particular matter," the document said. "All that such a communication means is that the staff has completed its investigation and at that time no enforcement action has been recommended."

Gold Fields, which has an American Depositary Receipts programme on the New York bourse, declined to comment on the matter.

Analysts said there had been concerns about Gold Fields’ abilities to operate or raise capital in the US, and the decision by the unit should be positive for the shares.

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