EYEGAMBIA

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Court jails Frenchman 5years plus $56.48M fine over $160M corruption deal in Guinea

EYEGAMBIA earlier reported the case of a French-Israeli businessman, Beny Steinmetz who was dragged before court in Switzerland to respond to charges of corruption he masterminded in Guinea some years ago.

The Swiss criminal court has pronounced him guilty of the charges leveled against him following two weeks; the diamond magnate was found guilty of corruption and forgery and sentenced to five years in jail with an attached fine of $56.48 million.

Representative of Public Eye, a Swiss corporate government watchdog was present during the trial, said that the judgment will send “a strong signal to the entire commodities sector. It also shows the importance for Switzerland to finally close the legislative gaps that facilitate such criminal activity.”

However, the guilty party, Beny Steinmetz who referred to the judgment as “a big injustice” said he will appeal the decision. According to the court proceedings, he has only 10 days to file an appeal if he has genuine concerns.

BACKGROUND
According to Swiss Prosecutors, the billionaire diamond magnate paid bribe of about $10m through Swiss banks purposely to compromise Guinean public officials and secure rich mining concessions at a very cheap rate in 2008.

Through this alleged fraudulent deal, Steinmetz was granted a right to very expensive reserves which he paid about $160m for; he later sold just half of what he secured fraudulently in merely eighteen months at $2.5bn to Brazilian multinational mining company.

The amount at which he secured the facility did not make sense to many people as Sudanese telecom billionaire, Mo Ibrahim questioned whether the Guineans who did that deal are “idiots, or criminals, or both?”

Mamadie Toure, wife of former Guinean head of state, Lansana Conte was fingered as an aid to Mr. Steinmetz in his bid to successfully bribe the relevant authorities leading to the undue sales of a concession referred to as the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposits.

However, in 2014, the Alpha Condé administration identified some evidence of corruption and stripped Beny Steinmetz’s company, BSGR of its mining rights but the country was not able to retrieve any of the monies he made fraudulently.

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