Israeli diamond merchant's lawyer on corruption claims
Published on Feb 13, 2021
(14 Aug 2019) A lawyer for Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz said Wednesday his client is innocent, after Swiss authorities charged him with bribery and corruption allegedly involving the former First Lady of Guinea.
The lawyer, Marc Bonnant, said Steinmetz would cooperate with the court, and insisted he had done nothing wrong.
Prosecutors in Geneva alleged that diamond-mining magnate Beny Steinmetz, and two other defendants, paid $10 million in bribes to squeeze out a competitor for mining rights in Guinea's southeastern Simandou region between 2005 and 2010.
The three are accused of issuing false contracts and invoices to hide bribes allegedly paid to a wife of Guinean President Lansana Conte, who died in 2008.
The prosecutor's office said Monday that the charges include corruption of foreign officials and falsifying documents. It said that the public prosecutor plans to seek sentences of two to 10 years in detention.
Israeli authorities arrested Steinmetz in December 2016.
He was later released under restrictive conditions.
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