A GENEVA court has sentenced an Israeli diamond tycoon to 5 years in prison following a trial that exposed the corrupt business world in the mineral-rich continent of Africa.
Beny Steinmetz, a Geneva-based Israeli businessman, was jailed for bribing top officials in Guinea with millions of euro to secure the purchase of lucrative iron deposits.
The diamond tycoon reportedly paid 8 million euro to Mamadie Toure, the wife of Guinea’s former President, in 2006 so that he could buy the Simadou Iron mines – one of Earth’s most untouched and valuable mineral deposits.
Prosecutors traced the murky finances of Steinmetz through Switzerland, Romania, the Virgin Islands, and Liechtenstein to establish the extent of his corruption conspiracy. He has called his conviction a “big injustice”, claiming he never “paid a cent” to any officials when his company bought the lucrative mines.
His trial has exposed the shocking levels of corruption and unscrupulous practises carried out by western businesses in their unrelenting endeavors to extract every iota of wealth from the African continent. Using a complex system of off-shore accounting, legal gymnastics and an omerta system that condemns those who speak out, many European, North American, and increasingly East Asian companies have defrauded the people of Africa from the economic benefits their mineral-rich countries could offer them.
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