Skip to content

Setting an Example for Dodgy Business Dealers

A Swiss court has convicted French-Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz on charges of corrupting foreign public officials and forging documents, in a trial over his successful bid to reap lavish iron ore resources in the West African nation of Guinea. Mr. Steinmetz, one of the richest people in Israel, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay a $56.5 million fine. The case centered on alleged payouts of millions of dollars to a former wife of an ex-president of Guinea, Lansana Conté, who died in 2008. The trial exposed the shady and complex world of deal-making and cutthroat competition in the lucrative mining business. His defense lawyer, Marc Bonnant, said he would “immediately” appeal the ruling. Mr. Bonnant said his client had not given “a single dollar” to any official of the Guinea regime during Mr. Conté’s presidency.