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Glencore investor herro backs CEO Glasenberg after US probe

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Glencore Plc billionaire chief Ivan Glasenberg has the support from one of the company's biggest shareholders as US authorities probe the world's top commodity trader over possible corruption.

[LONDON] Glencore Plc billionaire chief Ivan Glasenberg has the support from one of the company's biggest shareholders as US authorities probe the world's top commodity trader over possible corruption.

"Ivan is in for the long haul," David Herro, chief investment officer of Harris Associates LP, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV in London. Herro, who holds a 3.4%  stake in trader and miner Glencore, said he'd be surprised if Glasenberg is linked to the US probe.

Mr Herro spoke three days after Glencore said US authorities demanded documents relating to possible corruption and money laundering regarding its business in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela over the past decade. The news marked the latest twist in a tumultuous year for the Swiss company, knocking about US$5 billion off its market value Tuesday.

Glencore moved to soothe investor concerns on Thursday by saying it'll buy back as much as US$1 billion of its shares this year. Mr Herro said the size of Tuesday's 8.1 per cent selloff was unexpected, echoing similar comments from analysts at Liberum Capital Ltd earlier this week.

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The request from the US Department of Justice follows a series of legal issues for Glencore. It has faced challenges linked to its business in the Congo, where it operates giant copper and cobalt mines. The company is also facing the possibility of a bribery investigation by UK prosecutors over its work with Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, a close friend of Congo President Joseph Kabila, people familiar with the matter have said.

Mr Herro said that Glasenberg is capable and experienced and has a strong team around him. "Glencore is a very solid company, very well managed and we like being a shareholder," he said.

BLOOMBERG