SYDNEY, April 22 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) BLT.L is facing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a bauxite exploration project in Cambodia, The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday.
BHP on Wednesday revealed it was subject to a SEC investigation but did not disclose details.
The newspaper said BHP has admitted making a $2.5 million payment to the community near the bauxite project, in the north-eastern Cambodian province of Mondulkiri, near the Vietnamese border.
It said BHP has rejected the claim, saying the money was put into a development fund investing in social welfare programs. (Reporting by Bruce Hextall; editing Gyles Beckford)