By Stuart Condie 
 

SYDNEY--Rio Tinto Ltd. will pay former Chief Executive Sam Walsh millions of dollars in bonuses that the mining giant had withheld pending a regulatory investigation into payments related to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

Mr. Walsh retired as CEO in 2016 and agreed to a staged deferral of long- and short-term incentive payments while authorities, including the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office, looked into a consultant payment from Mr. Walsh's time as head of Rio Tinto's iron-ore operations.

With the investigation ongoing, Rio Tinto wanted to extend the deferment past the agreed December 2018 deadline, but an independent confidential and binding dispute resolution process has determined that Mr. Walsh should be paid.

Rio Tinto will pay 6.8 million Australian dollars (US$4.4 million) plus interest, Mr. Walsh said Thursday in a statement.

"I am pleased that the position with my incentive payments has been resolved in my favor and that there is no basis for those awards to be further deferred by Rio Tinto following the dispute resolution process," Mr. Walsh said in the emailed statement.

Neither Rio Tinto nor a representative for Mr. Walsh would comment on whether the agreement contained clawback arrangements related to any eventual findings of the investigation. Neither party had any information about a potential date for the investigation's conclusion.

"When the deferral agreement was entered into, both Rio Tinto and [Mr. Walsh] hoped that the Simandou regulatory investigations would have been completed by now," Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson said.

 

Write to Stuart Condie at stuart.condie@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 11, 2020 23:06 ET (03:06 GMT)

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