Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Israel Mining Magnate Beny Steinmetz Loses Bid To Silence Watchdog Group

(Reuters) — Britain’s data watchdog has dismissed Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s claims against a campaign group which used data to link him and his BSGR mining business to corruption in Guinea, saying the group enjoyed exemptions for journalists.

Steinmetz and three executives working with BSGR – which was stripped of its mining rights on the giant Simandou iron deposit in Guinea in April for alleged corruption – sued the Global Witness group last year at the High Court of London, claiming damages for breaches of their human and data protection rights..

The court passed the case to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which said that Global Witness was covered by exemptions because of the journalistic nature of its work.

BSGR, which has denied any wrongdoing, said it would appeal.

The BSGR executives, suing under British data protection law, accused Global Witness of unfairly obtaining and using but then refusing to produce on request personal data on Steinmetz, David Clark, Sandra Merloni-Horemans and Dag Cramer.

It was the first time the privacy law was used in such context.

Global Witness, which campaigns for transparency in the resources industry, maintained that given the journalistic nature of its work it could rely on exemptions from data disclosure.

“It is a victory for press freedom because it defines journalists by what they do, not whom they work for,” Leigh Baldwin, an investigative journalist at Global Witness, said on the ruling.

BSGR is currently also engaged in legal battles against Guinea and two large mining companies – Rio Tinto and Vale – with interests in Simandou.

“The ICO has not applied the law correctly and we will be asking the courts to review its decision,” said a spokeswoman for BSGR.

BSGR has denied paying bribes to obtain licenses in Guinea and has accused Guinea and its advisers, including philanthropist George Soros, one of Global Witness’ main funders, of mounting a smear campaign against it.

Earlier this month BSGR also said it had started legal action against Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May and the UK anti-fraud agency also in relation to the Guinea case.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    50th meeting of the Yiddish Open Mic Cafe

    Hybrid event in London and online.

    Aug 14, 2022

    1:30 pm ET · 

    Join audiences and participants from across the globe for this live celebration of Yiddish songs, poems, jokes, stories, games, serious and funny - all performed in Yiddish with English translation.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at editorial@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.