A Guinea-born former Wall Street banker was sentenced to seven years in prison for laundering $8.5 million in bribes that he took while a government minister in the West African country.
Bloomberg News reports that Mahmoud Thiam was convicted in May of taking illegal payments to help China International Fund Ltd. win exclusive rights to mine Guinea’s iron, gold, diamonds and bauxite deposits and then laundering the money into the U.S. Thiam served as Guinea’s mining minister from 2009 to 2010 after spending 14 years as an international investment banker at Merrill Lynch and UBS in New York.
"I sense no acknowledgment of the deep injury he has done to Guinea and to the rule of law," U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said in sentencing Thiam to two years more than the five Thiam’s lawyer requested.
Prosecutors sought a sentence of more than 12 1/2 years. In addition to the prison time, Cote ordered Thiam to forfeit the $8.5 million. Thiam has been in custody since his arrest in December. He didn’t give a statement during the hour-long hearing.
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