Former Areva exec charged over alleged Namibia uranium corruption

Namibian President Hage Geingob
Namibian President Hage Geingob AFP PHOTO/JORDAANIA ANDIMA

The former head of Areva's mining branch has been charged with corruption in relation to the French nuclear giant's purchase of Canada's Uranim. Payments to a Namibian mining company and its current president are under the spotlight.


Sébastien de Montessus was charged at the end of last month, sources revealed this weekend.

The case is one of two that date back to 2007, when Areva, which today is in financial difficulties, bought Uramin for 1.7 billion euros.

Former Areva boss Anne Lauvergeon and two members of her team have been charged with the alleged overvaluation of the sale to conceal the fall in the price of Uranium.

Namibia payments

Unexpected problems in mining in Namibia, South Africa and the Central African Republic also helped turn the purchase into a financial disaster.

De Montessus has been charged in connection with suspected misappropriation of funds, an accusation that he denies.

The inquiry is looking into 5.6 billion euros paid to Namibia's United Africa Group in 2009-10 and 8,000 euros paid in 2008-09 to current President Hage Geingob, who was trade and industry minister at the time.

De Montessus is also suspected of receiving 750,000 euros for his alleged role as a go-between in the sale of a luxury yacht, the Cape Arrow.

Insider trading

Lauvergeon's husband, Olivier Fric, has been charged with insider trading on Uramin shares.

Investigators are looking into his links with Belgian financier Daniel Wouters, who was detained last week.

He was employed as head of development and acquisitions of Areva's mining arm and played a key role in the Uramin purchase.

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