GENEVA — A Geneva appeals court docket on Tuesday upheld the conviction of Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz for corrupting overseas officers, in reference to profitable mining rights within the West African nation of Guinea.
The court docket, issuing its ruling after a trial final summer season, upheld the convictions of Steinmetz and two different defendants for bribing overseas public officers over guarantees made to then-President Lansana Conte by way of funds to his spouse, Mamadie Toure, that got here to be value about $8.5 million. The court docket additionally upheld a $50 million effective towards the Israeli tycoon, but it surely threw out a conviction for forgery and diminished his sentence from 5 years to a few, half of it suspended.
Steinmetz, in an announcement through a spokesperson, vowed to attraction the “unfair and politically motivated resolution” to the Swiss federal court docket.
“Beny Steinmetz considers that the Geneva justice system turned a blind eye to procedural flaws, stretched the principles of jurisdiction, compensated for the shortage of proof, and misused the penal code to avoid wasting a conviction that it didn’t dare to dismiss,” it mentioned, including that Steinmetz and his authorized staff “proceed to contemplate that Geneva has no legitimacy to guage him.”
The case concerned an alleged plot, relationship to the mid-2000s, wherein Steinmetz’s BSGR Group squeezed out a rival for mining rights for huge iron ore deposits in Guinea’s southeastern Simandou area. The case uncovered the shady, advanced world of deal-making and the cutthroat competitors within the profitable mining enterprise.
The prosecutor’s workplace argued that from 2005 onward, Steinmetz crafted a pact of corruption with Conte, who dominated the West African nation from 1984 till his dying in 2008, and Toure.
Steinmetz’s authorized staff had argued that state prosecutors had intentionally excluded protection groups from any pretrial questioning of Toure in the USA, the place she lives. She has reached an settlement with U.S. authorities within the case.
In its court docket submitting, the prosecutor’s workplace mentioned BSGR gained exploration and exploitation licenses in Guinea between 2006 and 2010 in Guinea’s Simandou area, whereas its competitor — Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto — was stripped of its mining rights on two websites within the area.
Steinmetz’s staff mentioned mountains within the space maintain a number of the world’s largest untapped deposits of iron ore, and the standoff stifled any hopes to reap them — and supply a possible windfall for an impoverished nation. They are saying BSGR was first to check the feasibility of mining iron ore within the space.
The appeals court docket mentioned the award of the mining rights allowed Steinmetz’s firm to strike a $2.5 billion three way partnership with a Brazilian agency, of which 500 million had been “instantly cashed in” — whereas his firm had invested $160 million to develop the venture.