Billionaire Beny Steinmetz Cuts Down on Diamonds

Controversial Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz has offloaded Tonguma, one of the Sierra Leone diamonds projects owned by his London-based BSGR subsidiary Octea Mining, to AIM-listed Stellar Diamonds.

There’s no upfront fee, but Octea will rake in royalties from future production.

Sierra Leone’s mines minister reportedly threatened last year to revoke its mining licence at Koidu, which supplies Tiffany’s, alleging that the company, which has faced bribery allegations in Guinea, had not been making social security payments.

Under intense financial strain, Steinmetz explored selling the mine to Jide Zeitlin, a former Goldman exec, and Jeffrey Wright, the Hunger Games and James Bond actor, but the deal fell through.

Spy wonders how influential BSGR’s lender Standard Chartered was in the decision to sell Tonguma? earlier this summer, the pair were said to be in the process of a debt restructuring deal to keep the wheels turning.

Here’s hoping Abe stops playing games

On watching the cringeworthy Shinzo Abe waving a ball around dressed as Super Mario at the Olympics closing ceremony, Spy was reminded of this quote from the re-elected Japanese premier:

“In Japan, usually, once you become prime minister, you do not have a second chance.” Let’s hope his Mario outfit was only given one life.

Pub rent rises hard to swallow

London’s publicans may feel like a stiff drink after reading the latest data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The body reports that average rents in the capital have shot up from £30,750 to £74,500 in the past year. That’s a whopping 142% against a 16% rise across the rest of the UK — enough to drive even the most restrained pub owner to drink. Spy wouldn’t want them supping alone, so make ours a double.

End of the dream?

Mark Brumby, the respected leisure analyst who runs Langton Capital, is in danger of getting carried away with the early success of his beloved Hull City.

“Because there we are,” he tells clients. “Six points from two games and sitting at the top of the Premier League. We’re ensuring that our co-leaders, Man United, Man City and Chelsea, share the podium with a bit of class and long may it last.”

Then reality kicks in: “With Manchester United to come next week, our dreams may end early but humiliation has been averted and that’s something at least.”

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