Rio Tinto director John Varley is out after fraud charges

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Rio Tinto director John Varley has resigned after being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by the UK Serious Fraud Office.

Varley has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, and one count of providing unlawful financial assistance.

“The charges relate to Barclays Plc’s capital raising arrangements with Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd, which took place in June and October 2008, and a $US3 billion loan facility made available to the State of Qatar acting through the Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008,” the Serious Fraud Office said.

The investigation was first announced in August 2012.

The company released a statement announcing Varley’s departure.

“Rio Tinto senior independent director John Varley has resigned as a non-executive director and will step down from the board with immediate effect. Mr Varley joined the Rio Tinto board in September 2011 and was also the chair of the Remuneration Committee,” it said.

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis said, “I am very grateful for John’s outstanding contribution over the five or so years he has been on the board. The board holds him in the highest regard and will miss his valuable insight. Personally, I am not only losing a senior independent director, but a close colleague, whose wisdom and support I am going to miss tremendously. On behalf of the board I wish John the very best for the future”.

An announcement regarding the appointment of a new senior independent director and chair of the Remuneration Committee will be made in due course.

The defendants will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 3.

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