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Rio Tinto Settles SEC Dispute with $28M Penalty | 2012 Impairment Case

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Rio Tinto (RIO) has announced a court-approved settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding a 2017 lawsuit. The case involved the impairment disclosure of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (RTCM) in the company’s 2012 year-end financial statements.

Rio Tinto agreed to a US$28 million penalty without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations concerning its financial reporting. The company will also engage an independent consultant to review and advise on its impairment disclosure and project risk procedures.

Former CEO Tom Albanese settled with the SEC, paying a US$50,000 penalty under similar terms.

The company has expressed satisfaction with the resolution of the SEC case on fair and appropriate terms. This settlement concludes all investigations into Rio Tinto related to the RTCM impairment issue. Previous settlements include actions by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission in 2022 and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in 2017. A U.S. Court dismissed a related securities class action in 2019, which an appeals court upheld.

RTCM’s acquisition in 2011 and divestment in 2014 bookend this chapter in Rio Tinto’s history. Andy Hodges, Rio Tinto’s Group Company Secretary, has authorized this market announcement.

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