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Swiss court finds Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz guilty of corruption

Kitco News

GENEVA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A Swiss criminal court found Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz guilty of corruption on Friday and sentenced him to five years in jail, delivering a landmark verdict in one of the mining world's most high-profile legal disputes.

Steinmetz was also fined 50 million Swiss francs ($56.48 million). He can appeal the verdict.

The ruling followed a two-week trial of Steinmetz and two others variously accused of paying or arranging payment of $10 million in bribes to obtain exploration permits for the world's richest uptapped deposits of iron ore and of forging documents to cover it up through a web of shell companies and bank accounts. They denied the charges.

($1 = 0.8852 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Barbara Lewis and Carmel Crimmins)

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