It is a good thing that the world of international bribery and corruption is real because, if it was fiction, no one would believe it. In that group is certainly the tale of Beny Steinmetz and his company BSG Resources (BSGR). BSGR has been accused and vehemently denied paying bribes to obtain a huge mining concession in Guinea. The allegations involved BSGR winning the multibillion mining concession for the Simandou iron-ore mine in the country of Guinea, which was awarded to the company at the end of the reign of the country’s former dictator Lansana Conté, before he died in 2008. According to a report prepared by the current government of Guinea, BSGR won the contract by paying bribes to his fourth wife Mamadie Touré in the form of cash and shares “to help ensure those rights were stripped from Anglo-Australian miner Rio-Tinto and granted to BSGR.”
But that is only the beginning, as there is also the tale of BSRG employee/agent/representative/other Frederic Cilins who contacted Ms. Touré in the United States and offered to pay her some $5M to retrieve the contracts which detailed the payments she was to receive from BSGR. It turned out that there was a Grand Jury investigation going on over BSGR at the time and by now Ms. Touré was a cooperating witness with the Department of Justice. Cilins was arrested, pled guilty to obstruction of justice, sentenced to two years in jail, and was subsequently deported.
Now reports have indicated that Steinman himself has been detained by Israeli police for “money laundering, obstruction of justice, and bribery.” Yet these charges do not relate to the FCPA charges still under investigation by the Justice Department. These charges under investigation in Israel focus on real estate transactions in countries outside Israel used for the purposes of money laundering.
As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”