Swiss prosecutors demand that a French-Israeli businessman serve his prison sentence in a vast corruption case involving Guinea mining rights, while his defense insists he is innocent.
In an impassioned closing statement, chief prosecutor Yves Bertossa tells the Geneva appeals court he maintains his request for Beny Steinmetz to serve five years behind bars, decrying his role in a “pact of corruption.”
The 66-year-old mining tycoon, who made his fortune in diamonds, was already sentenced by a lower court in January 2021 to a five-year prison term and ordered to pay 50 million Swiss francs ($52 million) in compensation. He was found guilty of setting up a complex financial web to pay bribes to ensure his company could obtain permits in Guinea’s southeastern Simandou region, which is estimated to contain the world’s biggest untapped iron ore deposits.
Earlier today, Steinmetz’s lawyer Daniel Kinzer slammed the prosecution’s case as “very weak,” insisting that the lower court had reached “an erroneous and unjust conclusion.”
“He is innocent… There is no criminal offense,” he said in his closing statement, urging the judges to look at the facts “with fresh eyes.”