Israel Police patrol car [File].
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Police arrested on Tuesday a second suspect in an ongoing investigation into Israeli billionaire diamond tycoon Benny Steinmetz. The suspect, whose name is under gag order is due to appear before the Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The case is part of an international investigation into the acquisition of one of the world’s largest iron-ore mineral deposits by BSG Resources (BSGR), a mining company founded by Steinmetz. He is suspected of bribing Guinean public officials with tens of millions of dollars to further the interests of the company.
In the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s court on Monday, police sought to extend Steinmetz’s remand, but he was released on restrictive conditions, including house arrest until January 2 and a NIS 100 million bail – NIS 50m. in cash and NIS 50m. in assets.
“In light of suspicions of Israeli involvement in alleged criminal actions abroad and pertaining to Israel, the Israel Police conducted a covert investigation following a public investigation conducted abroad that established the suspicions,” the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit said in a statement.
The undercover investigation in cooperation with US, Swiss and Guinean law enforcement is part of an OECD-led effort to combat bribery of public officials around the world. Police said more arrests are expected in the case.
Attorney Yuval Sasson, who is representing Steinmetz, called the accusations an attempt by the president of Guinea, Alpha Condé, to “illegally expropriate the mining rights of BSGR.”