Israeli diamond magnate arrested in money laundering case

Police detain diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz and four others on suspicion of money laundering abroad.

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JTA - Police in Israel detained the businessman Beny Steinmetz and four others for questioning in a money-laundering investigation involving real estate deals abroad.

The five were questioned on Monday under caution, meaning they are considered suspects in the case, the Times of Israel reported.

The suspects were brought in for questioning on suspicion of money laundering, falsifying documents, using fake documents, false registration of corporate documents, fraud, breach of corporate trust, obstruction of justice, and bribery, police said.

Raids were also carried out at their homes and offices, according to the Times of Israel. The other four suspects were not named, but a media report identified one as a well-known figure in Israeli banking.

A statement said police suspect the group acted “acted systematically together with the prime suspect in order to create and present fictitious contracts and transactions, among other things in real estate deals in a foreign country, for the purpose of money laundering and money transfers,” the statement said.

A police source told The Times of Israel Steinmetz was the prime suspect in the case.

Steinmetz, who made billions as a diamond and mining magnate, was arrested on December 19 and accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes in the Republic of Guinea in exchange for advancing his business interests in the country. He was held under house arrest at the time and later released.

Steimetz has consistently denied any wrongdoing, calling the allegations against him the result of a conspiracy designed to make his form relinquish its rightfully-owned mining rights.

According to Israeli media report, the current probe is linked to the Africa investigation.

According to Forbes, Steimetz is worth $1.02 billion, making him one of Israel’s richest people.




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