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Beny Steinmetz: Unravelling the myth

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Beny Steinmetz: ‘Africa, Soros and me’

By Mathieu Olivier
Posted on Tuesday, 16 March 2021 19:32

Switzerland Corruption Trial
Israeli business man Beny Steinmetz arrives to a courthouse in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

On 22 January, the verdict was in: a Geneva court sentenced Beny Steinmetz to five years in prison for bribery in connection with the allocation of mining licences in Guinea’s Simandou region. The Franco-Israeli businessman was represented by the big-name Swiss lawyer Marc Bonnant.

This is part 1 of a 4 part-series.

As soon as the verdict was read, the former diamond dealer announced that he would appeal the court’s ruling, well aware that Geneva is just one step in the global legal battle he has been waging from Tel Aviv to Rio de Janeiro to London (and which also includes a lawsuit campaign against his archnemesis, American billionaire George Soros).

Mandela, Ouattara, Condé, Sarkozy and co.

The 64-year-old mining and real estate tycoon’s future lies in the hands of courts far removed from the diamond mines of Botswana and South Africa and the mineral-rich lands of Angola and Sierra Leone, where, in a bygone era, the Netanya-born Steinmetz built his business empire that is now under scrutiny.

Who is this man who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of José Eduardo dos Santos and Nelson Mandela, and later down the line scored meetings with Moussa Dadis Camara, Alassane Ouattara and Alpha Condé?

READ MORE Angola: on the trail of stolen billions

And who has close associates such as Nicolas Sarkozy and his name attached to a sprawling network of 131 corporate entities – by some experts’ estimates – which he does not run?

In this series adapted from an extensive interview with Steinmetz, The Africa Report brings the diamond magnate into focus.

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Also in this in Depth:

Beny Steinmetz’s African business ventures, where he’s good at taking risks

After being sentenced to five years in prison on a bribery conviction, Beny Steinmetz continues to wage a legal battle of global proportions. Who is this Franco-Israeli businessman who is on first name terms with the world’s most powerful leaders? The Africa Report had access to an exclusive interview with Steinmetz in Geneva.

Beny Steinmetz: ‘George Soros is at war with me’

Ensnared in, but also the instigator of a host of proceedings, Franco-Israeli tycoon Beny Steinmetz blames George Soros for every last one of his legal wranglings and is going after him head-on.