Benjamin Steinmetz, Vale’s former iron ore partner in a failed joint-venture (JV) in Simandou, Africa, has been convicted for corruption and malicious falsehood crimes in Switzerland, the Brazilian miner said.
Vale said other two people had also been convicted in Switzerland, both of whom also for bribery. The Swiss court sentenced Steinmetz to five years in jail and to pay a CHF 50 million ($56.2 million) fine. Steinmetz has 10 days to file an appeal, an option the executive said he would purse.
The Swiss court decision is a win for Vale in the multi-billion-dollar case. Recently, Steinmetz wanted Brazilian prosecutors to investigate Vale for corruption and influence peddling in the same project. Steinmetz says Vale was aware of wrongdoings at the time the JV was annulled by the Guinean government.
A media report by Piaui said Steinmetz even hired Black Cube, a private espionage company, to set-up fake consulting meetings with former Vale executives to obtain “proof” that Vale was aware of wrongdoing activities in the African project.
Last year, the UK High Court of Justice froze $1.8 billion in assets from Steinmetz and five former BSG Resources (BSGR) executives.
Vale paid $500 million in 2010 to co-own the iron ore project. A former court decision in April 2019 ordered BSGR to pay Vale $1.2 billion. No payments have been made so far.
The court ruled at the time BSGR induced Vale to set up a joint venture (JV) to explore an iron ore site in the Simandou region in Guinea. The Guinean government annulled the iron ore concession in 2014, following corruption charges against BSGR.