Billionaire Beny Steinmetz Released From Israel House Arrest

Beny Steinmetz, owner of mining group BSG Resources, has been released without charge by Israeli police after being held under house arrest in connection with bribery allegations.

The diamond mining magnate, who has French and Israeli nationality and divides his time between Israel and Switzerland, was detained on December 19 by authorities investigating claims of corruption relating to a giant iron ore project in the west African country of Guinea.

BSGR is accused of using bribery to gain half the rights to Simandou in 2008, after paying a relative pittance for the project.

The deposit is thought to be one of the world’s richest seams of iron ore, used in steelmaking, but has been beset by legal wrangles.

BSGR, which denies any wrongdoing, subsequently lost its rights to the mine after the current Guinean government, which came to power in 2011, found it had bribed the former president’s wife to get its foothold on Simandou.

Mr Steinmetz has been under investigation in the UK, US and Switzerland for BSGR’s role in the Simandou saga.

He is also locked in a war of words with FTSE 100 mining giant Rio Tinto, which originally held 100pc of the rights to Simandou.

Last month BSGR threatened to sue Rio for billions of dollars in compensation for “very extensive loss and damage” in helping deprive it of its 50pc share of Simandou in 2014.

A spokesman for BSGR in London said: “Mr Steinmetz is free of all legal restrictions, with no charges relating to any criminal activities, including bribery and corruption, being laid against him.

“Mr Steinmetz has fully co-operated with the Israeli authorities, and will continue to do so if and when required.

The house arrest originated from ongoing and what BSGR believes to be obsolete investigations against BSGR, which were initiated by the Government of Guinea since [current present] Alpha Conde came to power in 2011 to expropriate its assets.”

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