When an investment asset has potential to deliver returns for 100 years, the competition to be the sole owner can be intense. Such is the case with mining rights to the Simandou iron ore deposit in the West African nation of Guinea, where George Soros is involved in one of several lawsuits over the past few years. The dispute is aggressive, with Soros being called out as anti-Israeli in the suit, which dredges up well-worn charges the former hedge fund managers engages in a global conspiracy to manipulate numerous governments. The feud with Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz dates back to 1998 and involves charges of manipulation and bribery.
From court document
The cost to develop Simandou is estimated at $20 billion, according to a Bloomberg report, and is estimated to have enough iron ore to deliver returns through the next generation and beyond. The fight brought by BSG Resources Ltd. (BSGR) involves some of the most successful billionaires and mining companies in the world.
BSGR filed suit against Soros and his Open Society Foundations in court Friday, opening the document by claiming Soros is a “racketeer billionaire” who “acts in utter disregard for the rule of law” while he “epitomizes” the well-worn phrase “power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The suit claims Soros and “his minions” used “fraud, illegality, defamation and criminal misconduct” to besmirch BSGR’s reputation, which led to them losing the contract to develop the mine in the Simandou mountain range.
Steinmetz and BSGR lost rights to develop the mine when the Guinean government ruled they obtained permits by paying million in bribes, including to the wife of the former President. They claim the government based the ruling on false reports spread by Soros and his affiliates, including the “Soros-funded law firm of DLA Piper.”
BSGR claims that Soros “threatened extortion” of their firm and through “his controlled entities puppeteered the government of Guinea, misled other elected officials and governmental entities including President Obama.”
The complaint said that “Soros’s hatred of plaintiffs did not stop in Guinea.” The inflammatory language extended to acquisitions that Soros was involved in anti-Semitism. “To Soros, Steinmetz’s success, as well as his active, passionate promotion of Israeli life, business and culture are anathemas. Soros is also well known for his long-standing animus toward the state of Israel.”
The lawsuit played into a well-worn conspiracy theory that Soros fabricated and spread lies, infiltrated other venues and governments, including in the United States, Switzerland, and Israel.”
The animus between the two billionaires and his BSGR mining concern date back to 1998 with a dispute over a Russian venture. But it is not just Soros that Steinmetz and BSGR have tangled with.
Rio Tinto Group sued Steinmetz and BSGR of conspiring with Vale SA to steal the rights to the deposit, but that suit was thrown out of New York federal court in 2015. In December Rio Tinto announced it had told Guinea law enforcement agencies that BSGR had paid $10.5 million to a friend of Guinea’s president, resulting in a BSGR lawsuit.
George Soros is a frequent target of political vitriol. In November, 2016 he was accused of backing violent protests against US President Donald Trump, a charge the New York-based hedge fund manager exclusively refuted in ValueWalk. He has long been linked to left-leaning causes around the world. George Soros gained fame by shorting the British pound with Stanley Druckenmiller and is credited with being one of the few hedge fund managers to fight a central bank and profit.
See the full lawsuit below: