A federal case in New York City has cast a harsh light on a high-stakes battle over iron ore mining rights in West Africa.

Prosecutors in Manhattan have charged Frederic Cilins with obstructing justice by trying to get the wife of the former president of Guinea to destroy evidence of bribery.

Court papers cite secretly recorded conversations of the Frenchman telling the wife he's under orders to make sure the documents burn. They say he was overheard offering her millions of dollars.

The wife now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., and has agreed to cooperate with the FBI and make the recordings. She claimed to have proof that a mining company that employed Cilins used bribes to secure mining licenses in Guinea.

Both Cilins and the company have denied any wrongdoing.