Conservative Party CEO Linked to Bribery Scandal
A company fronted by the Chief Executive of the (UK) Conservative Party who only resigned from that role in July this year, is set to pay $50 million to seal a deal between the government of Guinea and a mining firm that has engaged in high-level bribery and corruption. The controversial deal, seen by Global Witness, aims to extricate billionaire Beny Steinmetz from criminal investigations that have been launched in Switzerland, Israel and elsewhere.
Global Witness has previously exposed how the company BSGR, led by Steinmetz, bribed the wife of the Guinean president to obtain one of the world’s largest iron ore concessions in 2008. Those corrupt practices led Guinea to eventually cancel BSGR’s mining rights in 2014, sparking a long-running legal dispute between Guinea and BSGR. The latest deal involving Mick Davis – who was both Chief Executive and Treasurer of the Conservatives – purports to resolve that dispute. The payment and other key details have until now been kept secret.
Under the deal, struck by BSGR and Guinea in February, Niron – the company headed by Davis – will get rights to mine a concession called Zogota. This was one of the blocks withdrawn from BSGR over corruption. Steinmetz is now to be a co-investor alongside Niron. At the same time, Guinea is to withdraw from criminal proceedings targeting Steinmetz in Switzerland and has promised not to make any “disparaging remarks” against Steinmetz or BSGR for ten years.
Niron belongs to a secretly-owned firm in the Bahamas, according to documents in the UK’s corporate registry.
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Taken together, these revelations mean there are serious questions to answer for one of the governing Conservative Party’s most important back-room operators. Why is he playing a key role in such a controversial deal? Why has he decided to team up in Guinea with a billionaire whose company has an established record of bribery there? And who are Niron’s secret financial backers?
The opaque settlement process also involves the world’s fifth-biggest accountancy company, BDO, which signed off the new arrangements in its position as administrator of Steinmetz’s stricken company.
In 2016, Davis was appointed the treasurer of the British Conservative Party. In June 2017, he was also appointed CEO of the party. In October 2017, political commentator Iain Dale placed Davis at number 83 in ‘The Top 100 Most Influential People on the Right’.
In March 2018, along with David Brownlow, Davis donated money to pay Ben Bradley’s legal bills resulting from Ben’s tweet falsely accusing Jeremy Corbyn of “selling British secrets to communist spies in the 1980s”. In May, this scandal involving bribery and corruption comes to light. Davis resigned as CEO and Treasurer of the Conservative Party on 24 July 2019.
(Main image – BSGR’s agents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mamadie Toure. One of them was Frenchman Frederic Cilins – later sentenced to two years in the US for obstruction of justice.)
Read the full article by Global Witness entitled: