Swiss courtroom sentences Israeli diamond magnate to five years for corruption


GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) — A Geneva courtroom on Friday convicted Israeli diamond and minerals magnate Beny Steinmetz on expenses of corruption of overseas brokers and forging paperwork, in a trial over a bid to reap lavish iron ore assets in Guinea.

The person thought-about by some to be Israeli’s richest man was sentenced to 5 years in jail, after going through a most of 10 years within the case.

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Steinmetz was additionally ordered to pay a $50 million advantageous. His protection lawyer, Marc Bonnant, stated he would enchantment the courtroom ruling.

Steinmetz, 64, denied the fees. The plot, relationship to the mid-2000s, concerned Steinmetz’s BSGR Group squeezing out a rival for mining rights for huge iron ore deposits in Guinea’s southeastern Simandou area.

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The case centered on alleged payouts of thousands and thousands to a former spouse of late Guinea president Lansana Conte, and uncovered the shady and sophisticated world of deal-making and cutthroat competitors within the profitable mining enterprise.

Then-President of Guinea Lansana Conte addresses the 54th Session of the Basic Meeting on the United Nations, Friday, Sept. 24, 1999. (AP Picture/Bebeto Matthews)

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Sporting a masks and flanked by his attorneys, Steinmetz — who has French and Israeli citizenship — calmly listened and jotted down notes because the choose, Alexandra Banna, learn the info of the case and the decision over two hours. Attendance within the Geneva courtroom was restricted because of COVID-19 issues.

The Geneva prosecutor’s workplace alleged that Steinmetz and two different defendants engaged in corruption of overseas officers and falsification of paperwork to cover the paying of bribes from authorities and banks. Among the funds allegedly transited by Switzerland — and the case has been investigated in Europe, Africa and the US.

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Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz arrives at Geneva’s courthouse for the studying of his verdict for alleged corruption of Guinean public officers and forgery paperwork, in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2021. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone by way of AP)

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The prosecutor’s workplace stated Steinmetz, beginning in 2005, crafted a pact of corruption with Conte, who dominated the West African nation from 1984 till his demise in 2008, and his fourth spouse, Mamadie Toure, involving the cost of practically $10 million.

In its courtroom submitting, the prosecutor’s workplace stated BGSR gained exploration and exploitation licenses in Guinea between 2006 and 2010 within the Simandou area, and its competitor — Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto — was “disadvantaged between July and December 2008 of concessions it had as much as then held within the Simandou North blocs 1 and a pair of.”

Swiss transparency group Public Eye stated Steinmetz employed “opaque constructions” to cover the allegedly corrupt schemes that had been managed from Geneva, the place he lived till 2016.

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The group stated the case confirmed how tax havens can be utilized to hide questionable, “even unlawful” actions in nations with weak governance and regulation.


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