A Swiss appeals court has upheld the corruption conviction of mining magnate Beny Steinmetz. The billionaire was convicted in Geneva two years ago in one of the world’s most high-profile legal disputes, Reuters reported.
An appeals court, however, acquitted Steinmetz of an earlier conviction for forgery. The billionaire has the right to appeal the verdict. His lawyer and spokesman were not immediately willing to comment, Reuters reported.
Judgment of the Court of Appeal in the Steinmetz case
The appeals court’s decision came after seven days of hearings during which Steinmetz and two other defendants challenged the earlier verdict. It said the defendants paid or arranged for the payment of bribes to obtain permits to explore the world’s richest iron ore deposits in Guinea and to forge documents, the agency described.
The owner of Beny Steinmetz Resource Group (BSG Resources), a world leader in the diamond mining market, was then seeking the rights to mine huge iron ore deposits in the south-eastern region of Simandou in Guinea.
Three high court judges sentenced Steinmetz to three years in prison, of which he must serve 18 months.
During the appeal, Steinmetz’s lawyers demanded his complete acquittal or, failing that, the closure of the case, arguing that Switzerland is not an appropriate place to settle the case because the alleged crimes were not committed there, Reuters reported.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA