Israeli Billionaire, Beny Steinmetz Faces Trial Over ‘Guinea Bribes’

Steinmetz

Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and two colleagues are to go on trial in Switzerland for allegedly paying $10m (£8.2m) in bribes in Guinea to win mining licences, prosecutors say.

A statement from Geneva’s prosecutor, Claudio Mascotto, said the payments were promised in 2005, three years before President Lansana Conte died, Reuters news agency reports.

They are accused of organising for the bribes to be paid to one of the wives of Mr Conte “to eliminate a competitor and have the contract for mining rights in the Simandou region allocated to Beny Steinmetz Group Resources”.

According to the AFP news agency, the prosecutor says the bribes were partly paid through Swiss bank accounts.

The tycoon and his company Beny Steinmetz Group Resources have previously denied any wrongdoing in the case.

In February this year, Guinea’s authorities lifted corruption charges against Mr Steinmetz and his firm after they relinquished rights to mine iron ore reserves in Simandou.

But the Geneva prosecutor continued investigations.

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