Guinea Bribe-Probe Defendant Cilins Ordered Held Without Bail
A French citizen with ties to BSG Resources Ltd. who is 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.
Frederic Cilins was ordered today by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Klindt in Jacksonville, Florida, to 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 yesterday.
Cilins was described by Guinean Justice Minister Christian Sow as an agent of BSGR. He 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 federal court in Manhattan. BSGR is controlled by billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who is Israel’s richest person, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Cilins, who was arrested April 15 in Jacksonville, is charged with five criminal counts. Prosecutors said he “repeatedly attempted to obstruct the grand jury investigation” in conversations and meetings with the witness.
In the affidavit Cilins filed to support his request for bail, Cilins said he is 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 yesterday’s filing. Instead, the LLCs 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. Michelle Smith, a lawyer who represents Cilins, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on today’s hearing.
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).
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