Guinea Bribe-Probe Defendant Ordered Held Without BailBob Van Voris
A French citizen with ties to BSG Resources Ltd. who’s charged with obstructing a U.S. grand jury investigation into bribes paid to win mining rights in Guinea was ordered held without bail by a federal judge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Klindt in Jacksonville, Florida, ruled yesterday that Frederic Cilins must remain in custody because of concern he may try to flee if released. Cilins will be transported from Florida to New York to face criminal charges, Klindt said at a hearing.
Cilins, 50, submitted a false, unsigned affidavit in support of his bid to win release on bail and presents a “grave risk of flight,” prosecutors said in a court filing.
Cilins, who was described by Guinean Justice Minister Christian Sow as an agent of BSGR, is accused of offering to pay a cooperating witness to lie to the grand jury and to turn over documents for him to destroy, according to an indictment filed last week in Manhattan federal court. BSGR is controlled by billionaire Beny Steinmetz, Israel’s richest person, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Cilins, who was arrested April 15 in Jacksonville, is charged with five counts. Prosecutors said he “repeatedly attempted to obstruct the grand jury investigation” in conversations and meetings with the witness.
“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision and will be filing the appropriate objections and appeal regarding the order of detention,” his lawyer, Michelle Smith, said in an e-mail today. “Mr. Cilins is a respected business and family man. He is not a risk of flight. We believe we have put forth sufficient security to reasonably ensure his appearance in New York on these charges including $3.6 million in property, electronic monitoring and home confinement, as well as a 24/7 guard at his home.”
In the affidavit filed to support his request for bail, Cilins said he’s the sole owner of two limited liability companies that hold Florida properties being proposed for use as security for a bond, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Karase in Jacksonville said in a filing. Instead, the companies are owned by Cilins and two other men, Michael Noy and Avraham Lev Ran, who are tied to Cilins’s alleged crime, Karase said.
“There is simply no reason to believe that either of these individuals would want the defendant to attend a trial at which their own activities will be the subject of inquiry,” Karase said in the filing.
Noy was heard on a wiretapped phone call discussing with Cilins efforts to get a cooperating witness, who was the wife of a dead, former top Guinean official, to sign a false document that was to be submitted in the bribery investigation, the government said. Lev Ran signed a contract that included payments to the cooperating witness and transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to her in the U.S., according to the filing.
Lev Ran couldn’t be reached for comment. Noy couldn’t be located.
The case is U.S. v. Cilins, 13-mj-00975, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The Florida case is U.S. v. Cilins, 13-mj-01087, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Jacksonville).