Billionaire Steinmetz sues ex-adviser over Soros link
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON (Reuters) - Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz is suing his former London-based business advisers and a British ex-minister in a battle over Guinea's mineral wealth.
Steinmetz has been at odds with the government of the West African country for months over the right to mine half of the giant Simandou deposit, one of the world's largest untapped iron ore discoveries.
The mining arm of his business empire, BSG Resources (BSGR), accuses the government's high-profile foreign advisers, including the hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, of carrying out a damaging and personal smear campaign to thwart its ambitions in Guinea.
Soros-backed organizations such as Revenue Watch say they are helping Guinea's President Alpha Conde and his government achieve greater benefits to ordinary Guineans from mining deals.
Steinmetz and BSGR accuse their own former communications and business advisory firm, FTI Consulting, of breaching its contract with BSGR by colluding with Soros in the alleged campaign.
According to documents filed with Britain's High Court and seen by Reuters on Thursday, Steinmetz and BSGR are suing FTI Consulting and FTI executive Mark Malloch-Brown, a former British government minister, for breach of contract and, for the latter, a "collusive and unlawful" relationship with Soros.
They accuse Malloch-Brown, who is close to Soros and was vice chairman of his investment funds, of handing over confidential information on BSGR and of failing to disclose his ties to the financier and alert BSGR to the potential conflict of interest.
"(Malloch-Brown's) relationship with Mr Soros was so close that (he) was in charge of funding the very NGOs which were building a case against BSGR," BSGR said in the documents. Continued...