The arrest of billionaire Beny Steinmetz and strategic consultant Tal Silberstein, who are suspected of bribery and money laundering, was today extended by 24 hours with the consent of the parties. It was agreed that they would be released to 15 days of house arrest and barred from foreign travel for 60 days. The Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court approved the agreement between the parties, and no hearing on the case took place today.
Steinmetz and Silberstein are suspected of money laundering, bribery, fraud, and forging documents on deals amounting to €9 million "in order to deceive third parties and conceal criminal activity, including bribery," the police stated. Together with others involved in the affair, they are also suspected of attempting to take over land in Eastern Europe and preparing fictional contracts. On the basis of the evidence submitted to it, the Court ruled that there were "grounds for their arrest" and a reasonable suspicion that they had committed the offenses attributed to them.
Steinmetz previously had a dispute with the Israel Tax Authority, due to his wish to be taxed as a consultant for his company, Beny Steinmetz Group (BSG), rather than its owner. The investigations, which have continued since Steinmetz's arrest on suspicion of bribing Guinea President Alpha Conde, recently resulted in a new affair in which Steinmetz and Silberstein, together with other suspects, are suspected of systematically and regularly conducting money laundering in the course of their real estate business in Eastern Europe.
Another suspect in the case was former Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Udi Neta, a strategic consultant who worked for Silberstein as a freelancer. His remand was also extended until tomorrow. On the basis of the evidence submitted to it, the Court ruled that there was a reasonable suspicion that he had committed the offenses attributed to him, and that there were grounds for concern that he would obstruct justice, among other things because he had kept silent after the investigators confronted him with his role in the affair, as told by Silberstein, his employer.
Other suspects in the case released without appearing in court at this stage include Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. law firm partner Advocate Doron Levy and Asher Avidan, a former senior employee of Steinmetz in Guinea, who was president of BSG Resources, the mining arm of BSG, for a decade, and who was questioned with Steinmetz in December about the bribery affair in Guinea.
Another suspicion against Steinmetz, for which he was arrested in December 2016, is that he gave a bribe amounting to tens of millions of dollars to Guinea President Alpha Conde and his wife, and laundered the money in Romania, in exchange for iron mining licenses that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for Steinmetz in 2006-2012.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on August 17, 2017
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