November 18, 2016 / 1:42 AM / 2 years ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-Guinea asks Rio Tinto to spell out any "wrongdoing" tied to Simandou project

(Refiling to correct spelling of “asks” in headline)

MELBOURNE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The government of Guinea has called on Rio Tinto to spell out what exactly it has discovered in an internal investigation into payments made to an adviser in Guinea who helped it secure ownership of one of the world’s most valuable iron ore lodes.

The row over the Simandou project, which has led Rio Tinto to fire two top executives, involves a $10.5 million payment to a French investment banker, Francois de Combret, that was approved by two former Rio Tinto chief executives. There is no suggestion the Rio executives or the banker acted illegally.

“As the country caught in the middle of this boardroom drama at Rio Tinto, we need answers,” Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Geology Abdoulaye Magassouba said in an emailed statement.

“The Government of Guinea is demanding a full account from Rio Tinto of any wrongdoing identified in the company’s dealings with the Republic of Guinea.”

Rio Tinto declined to comment on the Guinea government’s statement. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kenneth Maxwell)

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