Billionaire George Soros is being sued by the head of an Israeli-based mining company over a claim dispute involving iron ore in Guinea that the plaintiffs claim cost them more than $10 billion in lost revenues.
The plaintiffs, Beny Steinmetz of BSG Resources Ltd. (BSGR), claim that Soros used law, public relations, government officials and other firms to disparage BSGR so it would lose the mining rights to the Simandou deposit in April 2014 in Guinea and other locations around the world. The complaint was filed April 14 in Manhattan federal court.
“Through fraud, illegality, defamation, and criminal misconduct, Soros interfered with and induced the breach of plaintiffs’ contractual iron ore concession and agreement,” BSGR alleges in the 54-page complaint. “Soros’s mendacious and illegal conduct destroyed plaintiffs’ Guinea investment.”
In the complaint, BSGR said it spent three years drilling and invested more than $160 million exploring the viability of the Simandou ore deposit. The firm then submitted its plan to the Guinean government, and signed the Basic Convention Agreement giving it mining rights in December 2009.
BSGR alleges it continued investing in the mining opportunity, only to see false corruption allegations created by Soros that led Guinean authorities to cancel the agreement in 2014.
BSGR has been accusing Soros of disparaging BSG in a dispute dating back to 1998 over mining operations in Russia. The complaint also charges that Soros took action against the company because its chief executive, Steinmetz, is pro-Israel.
The Simandou iron deposit is considered one of the richest in the world. It has been the subject of other lawsuits, including one from the Rio Tinto Group that also sued Steinmetz in 2005.
According to reports in Bloomberg, the rights to the mine have been hotly disputed by Steinmetz and Soros. Soros’ public relations firm earlier settled charges with authorities in London in 2013 about its campaign against BSGR. The PR firm never admitted wrongdoing.
For its part, BSGR was investigated by Swiss and Israeli law enforcement officials about whether the firm paid bribes to obtain the mining rights.
Earlier, Steinmetz and BSGR lost their rights to Simandou when Guinean government investigators found that permits were issued after millions in bribes were paid, including money to Mamadie Toure, the wife Guinea’s former president.
In the most recent complaint, BSGR said the Guinean government’s decision was based on fake reports prepared by Soros-funded companies. The complaint charges that Toure, who implicated BSGR and Steinmetz, was paid $50,000 from an adviser to President Alpha Conde and received $80,000 from an “agent or affiliate of Soros.”