Rio Tinto’s Guinea Head Departs Amid Mine-Payment Investigation

(Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group’s head of operations in Guinea has left the company.

Ismael Diakite, who had been in the role since 2011, said his departure from the company on Dec. 2 was amicable though declined to offer any more details when contacted by phone in Canada. A spokesman for Rio confirmed the departure and declined to comment further. The story was first reported by Guineenews.

Rio is dealing with an investigation into a mining deal that’s already resulted in the firing of two senior executives. Last month, the company alerted authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, to a $10.5 million payment made to external consultant Francois de Combret in 2011 for assisting negotiations with Guinea’s President Alpha Conde.

As the head of Rio’s operations in Guinea, Diakite was responsible for its bauxite mining interests in the West African country, a partnership with the government and Alcoa Corp. and the giant $20 billion Simandou project that Rio exited in October.

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