GENEVA/LONDON Aug 29 Swiss police on Thursday
searched the Geneva offices of Onyx Financial Advisors, a
company providing management services for BSGR, the mining arm
of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz's business empire, an Onyx
A security guard at the property said about 20 police
officers arrived in the early morning, brought up documents from
the basement and stayed for several hours.
"Onyx has absolutely nothing to hide. We are co-operating
fully with the authorities but are unable to comment further at
this time," the spokesman said.
He was unable to confirm whether the search was connected to
an international probe into BSGR's mining concessions in Guinea,
where it is battling for the right to mine half of Simandou, one
of the world's largest untapped iron ore deposits.
A spokesman for the Geneva police declined to comment.
The Guinean government has accused BSGR of paying bribes to
obtain its concession under a previous government, but BSGR has
repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
As part of a U.S. corruption probe involving Guinea, FBI
agents in April arrested BSGR agent Frederic Cilins, on charges
of obstructing a criminal investigation, tampering with a
witness and destroying records. Two men have also been arrested
Onyx is a company which BSGR has described as wholly
separate and fully independent, though it provides
administrative and management services for BSGR. Onyx's chief
executive is also a director on the board of BSGR.
(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques in London and Emma Farge
in Geneva; Editing by Erica Billingham)