On July 25, 2014, a lobbyist formerly retained by a mining company to assist with the company’s efforts to develop mining assets in the Republic of Guinea was sentenced in a federal court in Manhattan to two years in prison for obstructing a federal criminal investigation into whether the company had paid bribes in order to obtain valuable mining concessions in Guinea.  He was also ordered to pay a fine of $75,000 and forfeit an additional $20,000.

Earlier this year, the lobbyist – French citizen Frederic Cilins – pled guilty to one count of obstruction of justice, which count alleged that Mr. Cilins had offered substantial sums of money to a witness to persuade the witness to destroy documents that had been requested by the FBI in the ongoing federal grand jury investigation.  The count also alleged that Mr. Cilins tried to induce the witness to sign an affidavit containing false statements related to the matters under investigation, and further tried to prevent the witness from speaking to the FBI regarding the matters under investigation.  The witness was relevant to the investigation because she was the wife of a former Guinean President (now deceased) who had the ability to influence the award of mining concessions.  Certain facts and circumstances related to the matters under investigation were previously reported on by the New Yorker magazine.

The federal grand jury investigation is still ongoing.