Soros Calls $10 Billion Steinmetz Mine Suit a ‘Frivolous’ Stunt

  • Suit designed to deflect attention from legal problems: Soros
  • Steinmetz claims Soros was driven by ‘animus’ towards Israel

George Soros hit back at allegations that he supported a defamation campaign that resulted in Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz being stripped of rights to one of the world’s most lucrative mineral deposits.

Soros funded law firms, transparency groups, investigators and government officials in the West African nation of Guinea in a coordinated effort to ensure BSG Resources Ltd. lost the rights to the Simandou iron ore deposit in April 2014, BSGR said in a complaint filed Friday in Manhattan federal court. Companies controlled by Steinmetz allege the actions of the Soros-funded groups cost them at least $10 billion.

“The allegations in BSGR’s lawsuit are frivolous and entirely false,” Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, said in an emailed statement. “The lawsuit is a desperate PR stunt meant to deflect attention from BSGR’s mounting legal problems across multiple jurisdictions.”

The complaint is serious, with “allegations covering multiple contraventions of the rule of law,” a BSGR spokesman said in response to Vachon’s comments. “BSGR is doing what is necessary in order to hold these parties accountable.”

In the complaint, BSGR alleges that Soros was driven by a grudge dating back to 1998 around a business in Russia and his alleged hostility towards Israel.

“To Soros, Steinmetz’s success, as well as his active, passionate promotion of Israeli life, business and culture are anathema," BSGR said in the complaint. “Soros is also well known for his long-standing animus toward the state of Israel.”

The complaint is the latest in a long line of legal proceedings that have arisen from ownership tussles for control of Simandou, which is estimated to require about $20 billion to develop a mine with enough ore to last for 100 years. Over the past two decades its mineral riches have attracted some of the world’s biggest mining companies and billionaire investors all eager to share in the spoils.

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-biggest miner, sued Steinmetz, accusing him and BSGR of conspiring with Vale SA to steal the rights to the deposit. That lawsuit was thrown out in 2015 by a federal judge in New York.

BSGR lawyers demanded billions of dollars in damages from Rio Tinto in December after Rio announced that it had informed law enforcement agencies of a $10.5 million consultancy payment to a friend of Guinea’s president.

Steinmetz and BSGR originally lost their rights to Simandou because the Guinean government found that they obtained the permits after paying millions in bribes, including to Mamadie Toure, the fourth wife of Guinea’s former president.

The government’s decision was based on fabricated reports by Soros-funded companies, BSGR said in the complaint. Toure, who implicated BSGR and Steinmetz, received $50,000 from an adviser to President Alpha Conde and $80,000 from an "agent or affiliate of Soros," according to the complaint.

The case is BSG Resources (Guinea) Ltd. v. Soros, 17-cv-02726, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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