Beny Steinmetz
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Beny Steinmetz ( he, בני שטיינמץ; born 2 April 1956) is an Israeli businessman, with a
portfolio Portfolio may refer to: Objects * Portfolio (briefcase), a type of briefcase Collections * Portfolio (finance), a collection of assets held by an institution or a private individual * Artist's portfolio, a sample of an artist's work or a c ...
in diamond-mining and real estate.Forbes 2010
/ref>Michael Rochvarger
"Hapoalim confronts Beny Steinmetz"
''
Haaretz ''Haaretz'' ( , originally ''Ḥadshot Haaretz'' – , in English ''The Palestine News'') is an Israeli newspaper. It was founded in 1918, making it the longest running newspaper currently in print in Israel, and is now published in both He ...
'', 13 May 2010.


Biography

Beny Steinmetz was born in
Netanya Netanya ( he, נְתַנְיָה) is a city in the Northern Central District (Israel), Central District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa, between Poleg stream and Wingate ...

Netanya
, the fourth child of Rubin Steinmetz. Steinmetz lives in Israel with his wife Agnes and their four children. With his wife, he oversees the Beny & Agnes Steinmetz Foundation, which donates to schools, hospitals, army units and the arts in Israel. He also holds French citizenship and describes himself as an "international Israeli."


Business career

Steinmetz occupies an advisory role to the Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR) Board of Directors. BSGR is a natural resource company active in the fields of oil & gas, mining, metal and power headquartered on the island of
Guernsey Guernsey (; Guernésiais: ''Giernési'') is an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy that is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependencies, British Crown Dependency. It is the second largest of the Channel Islands, ...

Guernsey
. Steinmetz and
George Soros George Soros, (born György Schwartz, August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial asset In financial accountan ...
parted company ill-disposed to one another in the 1990s over a Russian business deal gone sour. In March 2014, the Swiss daily ''
Le Temps ''Le Temps'' (literally "The Time") is a Swiss French-language daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a ...

Le Temps
'' reported that Beny Steinmetz had sold shares in the Steinmetz Diamond Group (SDG) to his brother Daniel. As of March 2015 BSG Capital, a subsidiary of BSGR, held a 16% share in Gabriel Resources Ltd.
Koidu Holdings Koidu Limited a subsidiary of OCTÉA Limited, is a locally registered Company in the Republic of Sierra Leone. History Formation After a JV was formed on 1 June 2002 Koidu Limited acquired the remainder of the 25-year mining lease agreement ...
, which formerly operated as a
joint venture A joint venture (JV) is a business entity created by two or more parties, generally characterized by shared ownership, shared returns and risks, and shared governance. Companies typically pursue joint ventures for one of four reasons: to access ...
, has been wholly owned by the BSGR company since 2007.Koidu Holdings Company History
Retrieved 2012-12-15
Joan Baxter, ''Dust from our eyes: an unblinkered look at Africa'', Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd., 2008, p. 22

/ref> In 1997, he founded STI Ventures NV, a
venture capital Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that are not publicly traded. Private equity is a typ ...
firm that invests in start-up companies in Israel. In 1999, he was the owner of
Tucows Tucows Inc. is an American-Canadian publicly traded A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company A public limited company (legally abbreviated to PLC or plc) is a type ...
.''ISLA'', Volume 54, Issue 12,
Oakland, California Oakland is the largest city and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary an ...
: Information Services on Latin America, 1999, pg. 737

/ref> Steinmetz owns
Cunico Resources Cunico is a ''comune'' (municipality) in the Province of Asti in the Italy, Italian region Piedmont, located about east of Turin and about northwest of Asti. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 496 and an area of .All demographics and ...
which operates in North Macedonia and Kosovo as well as Canada-based Gabriel Resources, a gold-mining company seeking (unsuccessfully thus far) to reopen a mine in Romania. A now-defunct company, of which he was a founder and shareholder, Nikanor plc, listed in London, was acquired by Katanga Mining in 2008. With his company called Scorpio, he owns real estate in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Eastern Europe. In March 2015, BSG Capital owned a 16% share of Gabriel Resources. In June 2016, it was reported that BSGR had divested itself of most of its holdings in Cunico Resources. In spring 2018, the BSGR went into voluntary receivership "in the face of bribery allegations". In June 2019, two months after losing in the London Court of International Arbitration a $2-billion arbitration against Vale S.A., Vale, BSGR sought bankruptcy protection in the U.S. At that time, BSGR sued Soros alleging a defamation campaign that cost the company its rights to Simandou and at least $10 billion." In November 2019 Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.1 billion.


Controversies


Guinea

In 2013 Steinmetz was accused by French newspaper ''Le Canard Enchainé'' of hiring French, Israeli and South African mercenaries to topple the government of Guinea. Steinmetz sued the newspaper for libel. In September 2018, due to the fact that the paper could not prove the authenticity of the sources, it claimed to cite (the CIA and its French equivalent), the Court of appeal (France), French court of appeals ruled that the newspaper defamed Steinmetz and his company. The paper and the journalist behind the article had to pay a total of 50,000 euros and publish corrections in the ''Canard Enchainé'' as well as three other major newspapers. Beny Steinmetz had been involved in a long-running dispute with the government of the Guinea, Republic of Guinea surrounding the development of Simandou mine, Simandou Blocks 1 & 2, part of one of the world's largest iron-ore deposits. In December 2008, a three-year exploration permit to prospect for iron ore in Simandou, was awarded to BSGR Guinea, after the government of Guits to mine the northern half of Simandou, days before he died, to Steinmetz for $160 million. Steinmetz then soon sold a 51% share to Vale (mining company), Vale for $2.5 billion. The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI investigated BSGR's acquisition of the rights to extract half of the iron ore deposits at Simandou, due to concerns about corruption and bribery.FBI arrest agent over bribery cover-up claim in battle over $10bn mountain
''The Guardian'', 16 April 2013.
BSGR denied these allegations and in an interview to the ''The New Yorker, New Yorker'', Steinmetz said: “We are the victims. We have done only good things for Guinea, and what we’re getting is spit in the face."Patrick Radden Keefe
"Buried Secrets: How an Israeli billionaire wrested control of one of Africa's biggest prizes"
''The New Yorker'', 8 July 2013.
In April 2014 the Guinean government accused BSGR of obtaining the Simandou mining rights by paying bribes to the wife of then-president Lansana Conté in 2008, and that the rights would be stripped from BSGR and its partner Vale (mining company), Vale S.A. In September 2014 BSGR started an international arbitration proceeding against the Republic of Guinea in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, challenging the government's decision to revoke its mining rights. In February 2019, BSGR together with Guinean President Alpha Condé agreed to drop the pending arbitration case and all allegations of wrongdoing.[1] As part of the agreement, BSGR would relinquish its rights to Simandou and maintain an interest in the Zogota deposit that would be developed by head of Niron Metals, Mick Davis. Rio Tinto Group, Rio Tinto then filed suit against Steinmetz, BSGR and Vale alleging that they had devised a RICO scheme to steal "valuable mining rights" held by Rio Tinto. Steinmetz subsequently hired former FBI director Louis Freeh, defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, and law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, as part of his defense team. In November 2015, Rio Tinto's RICO lawsuit against BSGR was dismissed, with U.S. District Judge Richard Berman (lawyer), Richard Berman ruling that Rio exceeded the statute of limitations when filing their claim against BSGR in 2014 and that the company failed to identify a pattern of racketeering activity by the defendants. In mid-November 2016, Alan Davies, head of the Rio Tinto department responsible for Simandou, was suspended due to an investigation into the lawfulness of Rio Tinto's payment to Francois de Combert, former managing partner at Lazard and personal adviser to the president of Guinea. On 1 December 2016, ''France 24'' aired recordings from 2012 that it claimed were conversations between Francois de Combret and unnamed people involved in negotiations over the future of Simandou mine, Simandou. Australian media referred to the controversy as ''Guineagate''. In December 2016, Steinmetz was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and bribery charges following an investigation carried out by Israeli, American, Swiss, and Guinean authorities in coordination with the OECD. He was placed under house arrest on 19 December 2016, due to accusations that he paid tens of millions of dollars to senior public officials in Guinea to advance his businesses, specifically in connection with BSGR's purchase of Simandou. Steinmetz was released without charge the following month. In April 2017, BSGR filed a suit against American billionaire
George Soros George Soros, (born György Schwartz, August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial asset In financial accountan ...
in U.S. federal court in New York, claiming he had engaged in a lengthy effort to defame the company and sabotage its business in Simandou and around the world. A Soros spokesman called the allegations "frivolous and entirely false" and described the lawsuit as "a desperate PR stunt meant to deflect attention from BSGR's mounting legal problems across multiple jurisdictions."


Romania

On 10 March 2016, Steinmetz was indicted Trial in absentia, ''in absentia'' by the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate, on charges of the unlawful recovery of Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern's inheritance. Two other Israelis and he were on trial "in corruption cases involving high-ranking dignitaries in Romania." In February 2018, a court in Romania dismissed the request for a warrant for his arrest. On 27 June 2019, Steinmetz was acquitted by the Romanian court of all charges.


Israel

On 14 August 2017, Steinmetz was arrested as part of a joint investigation by Israeli and Swiss anti-corruption officials over allegations of fraud, breach of trust, bribery, obstruction of justice and false registration of corporate documents with the apparent purpose of money laundering. He was released to house arrest on 17 August 2017.


Switzerland

On January 22, 2021, Steinmetz was found guilty in Geneva of corruption. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and ordered to pay a fine of 50 million Swiss francs.


Philanthropy

In 2007, Steinmetz and his wife Agnes founded the Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation in order to unify their multiple volunteer activities under the auspices of one philanthropic organization. The Foundation is primarily engaged in financing projects in the fields of education, healthcare, and culture for young children. The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation also supports programs that work with at-risk youth, runs after-school facilities for children from disadvantaged families, and offers scholarships to students from difficult socio-economic backgrounds. The Foundation also donates to several organizations and institutions, including the Tel Aviv Museum, the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers (mainly supporting the soldiers of the Tzabar Battalion Of the Givati Brigade), the Israel Cancer Association, and various hospitals. At the end of 2016, the Foundation held a festive event to celebrate a decade of giving. Attendants included representatives of the many organizations the Foundation had supported over the years by contributing a cumulative amount of tens of millions of shekels.


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Steinmetz, Beny Living people Israeli billionaires Israeli businesspeople in real estate Israeli Jews Israeli philanthropists Businesspeople in information technology 1956 births Israeli expatriates in Switzerland Israeli mining businesspeople People named in the Panama Papers People from Geneva Businesspeople in metals