Corruption at Simandou : Beny steinmetz, sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by Swiss justice.

Beny Steinmetz, a franco-Israeli businessman has been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment, with 18 months with no remission by the Geneva Appelate division upon foreign public agents corruption charges. This sentence followed on from a corruption case where Steinmetz and his partners had promised bribe payments to the fourth spouse of the former Guinean president, Lansana Conté, to influence the attribution of the Simandou iron ore deposit.

This corruption act had allowed the Steinmetz's group, BSGR, to form a joint-venture with a Brazilian company for $ 2.5 billion, of which $500 thousands were immedately paid to BSGR. The Swiss justice established that the corruption practice was facilitated by a dummy company provided by a company from the BSGR group, along with contracts signed with the aforesaid spouse with a complex pattern of companies and bank accounts.

Beny Steinmetz will have to make a 50 million Swiss francs compensantory payment to the Canton of Geneva. This case sheds light on the illegal practices existing in the business community to secure juicy contracts, and on the complexity of corruption and money laundry patterns. It also puts an emphasis on the necessity to fight against corruption and to strengthen transparency in business transactions.

The prison sentence against Beny Steinmetz and his partners is a victory for justice and a proof that fighting against corruption is possible. It also demonstrates that aditional efforts are needed in the fight against corruption in the business world.

In January 2021, the Geneva magistrates'court had ruled a 5-year-in prison sentence against the 66 - year-old billionaire. However, he went to appeal saying that he had committed no corruption act.

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