Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina's ex-chief of staff on Friday pleaded not guilty in a London court to seeking a bribe from precious stone miner and Faberge owner Gemfields (GEMGE.L).
Romy Andrianarisoa, 46, and her French associate Philippe Tabuteau, 54, are accused of having sought 250,000 Swiss francs ($280,000) and a 5% equity stake in any Gemfield company mining in Madagascar.
They both appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, where Andrianarisoa pleaded not guilty to one count of bribery ahead of a trial due to take place in February.
Tabuteau did not enter a plea to one count of bribery.
The charge states the pair allegedly sought a bribe to ensure "legislation would pass in the Madagascan parliament to allow Gemfields to commence a mining operation".
Prosecutors said at a hearing last month that Gemfields had approached Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA), which deployed an undercover officer who met with Andrianarisoa and Tabuteau in London.