The Big Picture

Vincent Boland: Glencore’s shaming lifts the lid on the murky business of commodity trading

The metals and energy trading giant is finally facing a reckoning after decades of alleged dubious business practices. Other Big Commodities should face similar scrutiny

Ivan Glasenberg: the former chief executive of Glencore is more responsible than anybody for its transformation into a global trading powerhouse. Picture: Getty

There are few corners of the business world more shrouded in secrecy and intrigue than the trading of natural resources and commodities such as oil, coal and metals. This is because the companies that carry out this lucrative activity are mostly based in Switzerland, mostly in private hands, mostly poorly understood, and mostly led by people who shun the limelight.

Last month, prosecutors in New York shed a little light on this vast and under-scrutinised ...