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Cyprus detains Israel’s “diamond tycoon” on Romanian warrant

French-Israeli diamond tycoon Benny Steinmetz has been detained in Cyprus on a warrant issued by Romania. On September 14, the Cypriot court will consider the case on his extradition.

Reuters reports.

In 2020, a Bucharest court sentenced the 67-year-old billionaire in absentia to five years in prison for creating an organized crime group that scammed Romanian land plots from 2006-2008. Romania suffered damage in the amount of 135 million euros.

Steinmetz was detained on arrival at Larnaca airport on the basis of a European arrest warrant issued by Romania. Steinmetz was released conditionally, but he is required to appear in court on September 14.

Earlier, Greece and Italy canceled the warrant issued against Steinmetz, as the billionaire claimed a violation of his right to a fair trial and the threat of inhuman and degrading treatment in Romania.

In addition, Interpol also canceled its own “red notice” to detain Steinmetz, considering the Rumanian trial of the businessman politically motivated.

Recall that in 2021, Benny Steinmetz was also sentenced to one and a half years in prison in Switzerland for bribing members of the Guinean government, where the entrepreneur was trying to obtain permission to extract mineral resources. Now Steinmetz is appealing the verdict in Switzerland’s highest court. He will not serve a prison sentence until the appeal process is completed.