Benny Steinmetz loses attraction in Swiss corruption case

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Steinmetz instantly introduced he would now take the case to Switzerland’s highest court docket after his setback on the Geneva Courtroom of Appeals.

In a press release, his staff mentioned he believed “he’ll be fully cleared of all costs”.

Two years in the past, a decrease court docket discovered Steinmetz responsible of establishing a fancy monetary internet to pay bribes to make sure his firm may acquire permits in Guinea’s southeastern Simandou area. The realm is estimated to comprise the world’s greatest untapped iron ore deposits.

The appeals court docket upheld many of the findings towards him, discovering him responsible of corrupting overseas public servants, however clearing him of the cost of forgery.

The 67-year-old businessman, who made his fortune in diamonds, was sentenced by the appeals court docket to a few years in jail, with half of that sentence suspended.

That was properly under the five-year sentence he was handed after his first trial, however the appeals judges confirmed the decrease court docket ruling that he ought to pay 50 million Swiss francs ($52m) in compensation. Two of his alleged co-conspirators got shorter jail phrases.

“All three, in complementary roles, are responsible of corrupting overseas public brokers by influencing the mining rights attribution course of within the Simandou area,” the appeals court docket mentioned in a press release.

In his assertion, Steinmetz mentioned: “The Geneva Courtroom of Attraction didn’t do justice”, describing its determination as “iniquitous”.

“Benny Steinmetz considers that the Geneva justice system turned a blind eye to procedural flaws, stretched the foundations of jurisdiction, compensated for the shortage of proof, and misused the penal code to save lots of a conviction that it didn’t dare to dismiss,” the assertion mentioned.

Pact of corruption

Steinmetz, who lives in Israel, won’t serve any jail time till the appeals course of has been exhausted.

Throughout the appeals trial, the prosecutors doubled down on the image painted in the course of the unique trial of Steinmetz – elaborating on the cost that he bribed the spouse of then-Guinean president Lansana Conte and others to be able to win profitable mining rights in Simandou.

Benny Steinmetz Group Assets (BSGR) obtained the rights – which had been stripped from mining big Rio Tinto – shortly earlier than Conte died in 2008 after about $10m was allegedly paid in bribes over various years via completely different channels.

BSGR obtained the rights towards an funding of $160m, however 18 months later offered 51% of its stake within the concession to Vale of Brazil for $2.5bn.

In 2013, Guinean president Alpha Conde reviewed the permits allotted beneath Conte and stripped the VBG consortium shaped by BSGR and Vale of its allow.

Prosecutors claimed Steinmetz and his associates entered a “pact of corruption” with Conte and his fourth spouse Mamadie Toure to acquire the exploration rights. The appeals court docket dominated he had paid her $8.5m.

Steinmetz’s defence maintained there was nothing inappropriate about how BSGR obtained the permits, and that Rio Tinto misplaced half the concessions for failing to develop them.



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