Israeli police arrest tycoon, others in bribery, fraud sting

Israel is participating in an international anti-corruption campaign, through which a billionaire businessman and four others were recently arrested. 

Israeli police took a prominent billionaire businessman and four other suspects into custody on a battery of charges, including money laundering, obstruction of justice and bribery.

The police say the suspects were arrested and questioned on Monday, following a joint investigation with Swiss and American authorities into forged documents and fictitious real estate deals abroad. The FBI is also reportedly involved in the investigation.

The police would not comment on the specifics of the current investigation, but confirmed that Beny Steinmetz was among those arrested.

Steinmetz, an Israeli-born Geneva-based diamond-mining magnate with an estimated worth of just over $1 billion according to Forbes, was arrested by Israeli authorities in December over allegations of bribing officials in the African country of Guinea to promote business interests there.

A mineral-rich but deeply impoverished country, Guinea has long suffered from corruption while trying to exploit its natural resources.

Steinmetz’s company BSGR previously had its mining license revoked in Guinea because of corruption charges.

He spent two weeks under house arrest at that time.

In a rare 2013 interview with the Israeli news site Ynet, Steinmetz called allegations of corruption “a joke.”

By: AP