Israeli minerals magnate Beny Steinmetz convicted of corruption (Associated Press/The Guardian – January 22, 2021)

Tycoon sentenced to five years in prison for bribing officials and forging documents to gain mining rights in Guinea

The Israeli diamond and minerals magnate Beny Steinmetz has been convicted of corrupting foreign agents and forging documents by a Geneva court, in a trial over an attempt to reap lavish iron ore resources in Guinea.

Steinmetz, considered by some to be Israel’s richest man, was sentenced to five years in prison but had faced a maximum of 10 years in the case.

He was also ordered to pay a $50m fine. His defence lawyer, Marc Bonnant, said he would appeal.

Steinmetz, 64, had denied the charges. The plot, dating to the mid-2000s, involved Steinmetz’s BSGR Group squeezing out a rival for mining rights for vast iron ore deposits in Guinea’s southeastern Simandou region.

The case centered on alleged payouts of millions to a former wife of late president Lansana Conte, and exposed the shady and complex world of deal-making and cutthroat competition in the lucrative mining business.

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