Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and two associates are to stand trial for allegedly bribing Guinean officials to win mining licences. The trio allegedly paid $10m to one of the wives of former Guinean President Lansana Conte. Mr Steinmetz and his mining company Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR) have previously denied any wrongdoing.
The prosecution is seeking prison terms of two to 10 years. The prosecutors, who opened an investigation into the alleged bribery six years ago, allege that Mr Steinmetz obtained the mining rights in the Simandou region of south-eastern Guinea just before Conte died in 2008. They charge that the money was paid to a wife of the country’s former president partially through Swiss bank accounts.
In February this year, Guinean authorities dropped corruption charges against Mr Steinmetz and BSGR in exchange for relinquishing rights to the Simandou mine.