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Steinmetz Sells Stake in Cutting, Polishing Business

Mar 31, 2014 5:06 AM   By Deena Taylor
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RAPAPORT... Beny Steinmetz sold his 37.5 percent stake in the Steinmetz Diamond Group (SDG) to his brother Daniel, according to recent media reports. Steinmetz's spokesman denied the sale was connected to an ongoing probe into Steinmetz’s African mining interests.

The spokesman confirmed a recent report in the Swiss daily Le Temps that Steinmetz sold his stake in his family's cutting and polishing business to his brother following on allegations that BSGR, a trust owned by the Lichtenstein Foundation and in which Steinmetz is a beneficiary, is under investigation for bribing officials to gain rights to mining interests in Guinea, West Africa, Haaretz reported.

Steinmetz was awarded mining rights in the country during the presidential term of late Lansana Conte and is known to be involved in management of BSGR.

Steinmetz’s spokesman asserted that there is no connection between the sale and the controversy in Guinea involving BSGR and insisted that the shares were transferred as part of an ordinary business transaction. He noted that Steinmetz will continue to be involved in mining, distribution and diamond trading due to higher profit margins than those in the cutting and polishing business.

"Stenmetz's name was very unfairly scratched in connection with events in Guinea," Steinmetz's Geneva based lawyer Marc Bonnant told Le Temps. "This could prejudice the conduct of diamond business. Banks questioned every move to see what the relationship was with the fortunes of Beny Steinmetz. Beny did not want possible barriers or reluctance of banks to be an obstacle or disadvantage for SDG activities."

The transaction was completed in late December, according to Bonnant and will see Steinmetz's brother own a 75 percent stake in SDG, while another partner, Nir Livnat holds a 25 percent stake.
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