Beny Steinmetz bribery conviction appeal begins in Geneva

AuthorAssaf Uni, Berlin
Published date30 August 2022
Publication titleGlobes (Rishon LeZion, Israel)
Steinmetz, 66, who also has French citizenship, was found guilty in 2021 of "bribing senior foreign public officials" and "fraud and forgery of corporate documents," regarding the granting of rights for one of the world's largest iron ore mines in Guinea

According to the court, BSGR (Beny Steinmetz Group Resources), a company registered in Geneva, worked illegally by handing bribes to Guinea President Lansana Conte and his fourth wife Mamadie Toure for the rights to a mine in the Simandou province in the early 2000s. Steinmetz stood trial together with Sandra Merloni-Horemans, a former senior executive with BSGR and Frederic Cilins, Steinmetz's business partner. These two were also found guilty.

The appeal will be heard over the next eight days, and Steinmetz has brought in a new legal team. In his first trial he was represented by Marc Bonan, one of the leading lawyers in Geneva but he will now be represented by Daniel Kinzer and Christian Luscher. According to the Swiss media, which is closely following the case, Steinmetz attended the opening of his appeal in Geneva. He has been free to leave Switzerland, even after his conviction, because of the appeal.

The Swiss criminal court in Geneva last year rejected claims by Steinmetz's defense that he did not know about the payments to the senior Guinea figures and did not even have any official position at BSGR. The court ruled that between 2006 and 2012, Steinmetz and the company's two aforementioned senior executives surreptitiously and illegally transferred at least $8.5 million, and probably $10 million to Mamadie Toure, the fourth wife of Guinea President Lansana Conte, who died in 2008. According to the court verdict, these funds were in exchange for the rights of the iron ore mine in Simandou province.

"Expecting the court to recognize that Beny Steinmetz did not bribe anybody"

After the death of Conte, Alpha Conde became president and he opened a comprehensive investigation into the events, which led to the legal proceedings in Geneva and the indictment against Steinmetz...

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