>> A bribery scandal going all the way to the top of the world's second largest mining company. The British-Australian giant, Rio Tinto, announcing its fired two executives on Thursday over reports of $10 million in suspicious payments linked to an iron ore project in the West African country of Guinea.
Reuters' Jim Regan in Sydney says, the news has rocked the industry.>> Rio Tinto is regarded as a top tier. What they call in the industry a top tier mining company with a very strong track record of transparency. The situation that's occurring in Guinea looks like it's going to damage that.
Investigations are expected to begin in the United States, the UK, and Australia shortly.>> The scandal erupted last week after Rio said, it discovered a batch of old emails discussing making payments for help in winning development rights for Simandou, the world's largest untapped iron ore reserves. On the receiving end, a consultant with important connections.
>> The French consultant has been named in the emails is Francois de Combret a former Lazard investment banker born in Paris with strong ties to government officials in Guinea and other African countries>> Expert say, the company appears to be taking the front foot on the scandal. Firing Energy and Minerals Chief Executive Alan Davies who was in charge of the $20 billion Simandou project at the time.
Davies has come back fighting saying, the company has no grounds for letting him go and threatening to sue. Also shown the exit, Debra Valentine, the head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. The company CEO says, that the news has Rio Tinto staff shell-shocked and that any investigation could take years.