Landmark trial against commodities tycoon

Posted on Jan 13, 2021 8:16 AM

An unprecedented trial has just opened in Geneva, the European temple of commodity trading: that of the Franco-Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz. After six years of investigation, the Geneva public prosecutor’s office accuses the businessman and two of his partners of “ bribery of foreign public officials and forgery of titles “. They are suspected of having promised or paid bribes to Guinean dignitaries, in order to oust a competitor and gain access to one of the largest iron deposits in the world.

The trial is historic for two reasons. ” On the one hand, it is very rare for a major international corruption case to reach court in Switzerland. Often, procedures fail or an agreement is reached, explains Géraldine Viret, from the Swiss NGO Public Eye. On the other hand, it is the biggest mining scandal with colossal stakes for Guinea, without forgetting the big caliber represented by Beny Steinmetz.

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