“Africa, Soros and me” (2/3). Engaged in numerous lawsuits, the Franco-Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz accuses George Soros of being at the origin of all his conflicts with the law, and the attack head on.
For the Franco-Israeli businessman, his long-distance race in court is an ordeal. For his lawyers and those of Beny Steinmetz Resources Group (BSGR, the group he advises while not officially leading it), on the contrary, it is a godsend.
Since 2013, Beny Steinmetz and the company that bears his name have led courtrooms around the world in a series of battles. If the prosecutions are suspended in Guinea, following an agreement concluded with Alpha Condé in 2019 (however, an agreement not definitively validated by BSGR), its legal battles are continuing elsewhere.
First in England, against the Brazilian group Vale. Before an arbitral tribunal in London, BSGR, represented by the London firms Asserson Law Offices and Mishcon de Reya, was ordered, in April 2019, to pay $ 2 billion in damages to his ex-partner, on the grounds that he had hidden from him facts of corruption relating to mining permits in Guinea.
However, not only has the Franco-Israeli still not paid this sum, but he and his troops are trying to have the sentence annulled by demonstrating, in particular, that Vale was aware of the accusations – false, according to them – at the time of the signature of the contract in 2010.
BSGR even counterattacked in Brazil: in October 2020, he filed two petitions with the country’s federal prosecutor and the District Attorney of the city of Rio to obtain the opening of an investigation into Vale. He is defended, in Brazil, by lawyer Renato Polillo, of the Warde law firm.
Franco-Israeli claims 10 billion in damages
In the United States, Beny Steinmetz also launched in 2017 a case against George Soros and his foundation, Open Society, accusing them of having carried out a smear campaign against him. Supported by the American lawyer Louis Solomon, he claims 10 billion dollars in damages.
Each of these procedures could have an impact on the appeal trial which must open before the Swiss courts after the conviction of January 22, 2021.
Arrested in Israel
In Romania, in December 2020, in a case of illegal restitution of property, the High Court of Cassation sentenced Steinmetz and one of his former advisers, Tal Silberstein, in absentia to five years in prison. While he was acquitted at first instance, the Franco-Israeli appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, where he will be defended by the former French ambassador François Zimeray.
Finally, in Israel, Beny Steinmetz was arrested in December 2016 for acts of corruption. A time under house arrest, he had seen this sanction quickly lifted by the Israeli justice system, and his defense, provided today by the tenor cabinet of the bar Eitan Maoz, is working discreetly to reach an agreement with the latter.
The origin of their quarrel dates back to 1997, when they competed to invest in Russia.
“All these troubles, whether with Vale or with Guinea, began in 2011, at the initiative of George Soros, who mobilized his networks. We have never seen such a flood of NGO reports or articles before, and even since, ”summarizes one of Steinmetz’s relatives.
A billion dollars on the table
Where does the rivalry between the two men come from? The American billionaire has never made a secret of the little consideration he has for the Israeli authorities, while the former diamond dealer would define himself more as a patriot, proud of his country and support of his army.
According to Steinmetz, he and Soros did not meet for the first time until 2005, at a forum in Davos. Seated at the same table, they had not spoken to each other.
The origin of their quarrel dates back to 1997. At the time, the two magnates were in competition to invest in Russia, in the telecommunications company Svyazinvest. Soros personally puts $ 1 billion on the table – about as much as all of his partners put together – and wins, thanks to his good relations with those close to President Boris Yeltsin.
Did Steinmetz have too much fun with the American’s setbacks, as he reproached him for?
The party was short-lived: the Russian government, increasingly dominated by a certain Vladimir Poutine, changed the situation by causing a reorganization of Svyazinvest. Soros loses everything. “The worst investment of my life”, loose the American tycoon, whose fortune is now close to 9 billion dollars.
Hillary Clinton et Tony Blair
Two decades later, does he attribute this bad operation to Beny Steinmetz? The former Franco-Israeli billionaire (according to Forbes, his fortune, estimated at $ 1 billion in 2019, has fallen since) is convinced of this.
Did Steinmetz have too much fun with the American’s setbacks, as the latter reproached him? “With his network, Soros went to war against me,” says Beny Steinmetz, citing the law firm DLA Piper, the risk assessment company Veracity Worldwide, the Open Society foundation, but also Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair, who actually advised Alpha Condé. “If BSGR had accepted the blackmail orchestrated by Soros in Guinea, I probably would not have had any problems with the law. “