Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Glencore, Facebook, Bitcoin

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team


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Glencore’s attempt at reinventing mining has run into trouble

From the edge of the Kamoto Copper Company’s pit, it is hard even to see the mechanical diggers toiling dozens of tiers below. The 280-metre hole on the southern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo is deeper than Africa’s tallest building is tall.

A sign at the mine indicates it is 1,320km to Kinshasa, the capital, half a week’s drive away. Another arrow points to a less likely destination: Baar, a sleepy suburb of Zurich, 6,600km away at the foot of the Swiss Alps. Located in a business park there are the headquarters of Glencore, the company that ultimately controls the Congolese mine. Once a commodities trader that merely bought and shipped stuff others dug out of the ground, in recent years Glencore has gatecrashed an august club of global mining companies, such as Rio Tinto and Anglo American, whose histories stretch back to colonial times.

Its transformation has not been problem-free, however. Glencore’s dealings in Congo have landed it in a hole as deep as Kamoto. Authorities in America, Canada and Britain are probing whether its executives, known in the industry for their sharp suits and elbows, deployed even sharper business practices to get ahead. Investors have started to question the firm’s prospects; its share price has slumped. read more »

Facebook woes: A timeline of scandals plaguing Zuckerberg’s company

Facebook was once the crown jewel of the Silicon Valley tech giants, but in a year of increased oversight on Capitol Hill, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform has been plagued by scandals.

Shares of Facebook have fallen to $139.34, the lowest since April 2017, compared to $177.18 during the same period last year. Zuckerberg has also lost a whopping $17.8 billion so far this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, along with his place as the world’s third-richest person (he’s now ranked sixth).

From George Soros to Cambridge Analytica, here’s a closer look at some of Facebook’s biggest controversies from recent years. read more »

Bitcoin crashes 37 percent in November, wiping $70 billion off of cryptocurrencies' market value

November will be a month to remember for bitcoin investors.

The world's largest cryptocurrency ended November down 37 percent, its worst drop since April 2011 when the cryptocurrency fell about 39 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.

Bitcoin hit a low of $3,878.66 Friday after starting November above the $6,300 mark. The digital currency is now down more than 70 percent since the start of 2018 and 80 percent from its all-time high hit late last year.

The Securities Exchange Commission announced its first civil penalties against founders who did not register new coin offerings, adding to its crackdown aimed at abuses and outright fraud in the growing digital industry. This week, the agency settled with pro boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled, who the SEC said pumped up initial coin offerings without telling investors they were getting paid a promotional fee. read more »