Israeli authorities detained billionaire Beny Steinmetz for questioning in a fraud probe, a police official said, months after the diamond magnate was taken into custody and released in connection to an international corruption investigation.

In a public statement, the police said five suspects were asked about allegations of fraud, money laundering and creating fictitious contracts in a foreign country. The statement didn’t name any of the individuals questioned. A police official, however, later identified Mr Steinmetz as one of the five.

“The police have been investigating a number of suspects on suspicions that they worked systematically with the main suspect to produce and present fictitious contracts and transactions, including real estate in a foreign country,” the statement said. The homes and offices of the suspects also were searched, it added.

A lawyer for Mr Steinmetz couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Mr Steinmetz was last taken into custody by Israeli police in December on suspicion of paying bribes in 2008 to government officials in Guinea to secure mining rights the West African nation. He was placed under house arrest and released weeks later without charge.

 

Read the full article by Rory Jones at The Australian (subscription only).

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