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Rio Tinto faces NY class action after Guinea payments scandal

Jeffery P Weiner Supplemental Trust has filed a class-action lawsuit against Rio Tinto in connection with the company's ongoing Guinea payment scandal, alleging that it resulted in losses for owners of the company's American securities, The Australian Financial Review reported Dec. 16.

The lawsuit, filed in a New York court, names former executives Sam Walsh and Tom Albanese, as well as former CFO Guy Elliott and current CFO Chris Lynch, among the defendants.

The plaintiff, which bought Rio American depositary receipts between March 16, 2012, and Nov. 14, 2016, alleges that the former executives made false and misleading statements about the company's business practices.

Previously in December, BSG Resources Ltd. accused Rio Tinto of contributing to the loss of its mining rights for the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea and demanded compensation from the company.

The bribery allegations first surfaced in November when the company suspended its Energy & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies amid an ongoing investigation into payments totaling US$10.5 million made to a consultant providing "advisory services" on the Simandou project.

Mahmoud Thiam, Guinea's former mining minister, who claimed that Rio Tinto offered him bribes, was recently charged in the U.S. with laundering bribes from an unnamed Chinese company.