The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday upheld the conviction of Guinea’s former minister of mines, rejecting his attempt to use redefined rules about public corruption in the US to get a new trial.
US citizen Mahmoud Thiam used his official position as minister of mines in 2009 and 2010 to help a Chinese conglomerate to obtain exclusive and highly valuable investment rights in Guinea. Thiam was sentenced in August 2017 to seven years in prison after a jury concluded he betrayed the Republic of Guinea by accepting $8.5 million in bribes and engaging in money laundry in violation of 18 USC §§ 1956-57.
On appeal, Thiam argued that the jury instructions were erroneous because they failed to include the definition of “official act” relative to a bribery conviction, as set forth in McDonnell v. United States, a 2016 Supreme Court case.
The appeals court rejected Thiam’s argument and upheld his conviction.