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Israeli diamond tycoon Beny Steinmetz maintains innocence after Cyprus arrest

Stelios Marathovouniotis

4 Sept 2023

Israeli entrepreneur Beny Steinmetz was detained by Cypriot authorities upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport on August 30, on a Romanian-issued arrest warrant.

Steinmetz is at the centre of a case dating back several years relating to his involvement in a group that allegedly tried to illegally secure land rights in Romania. He has already faced arrest in some other European countries on the Romania-issued warrant but was cleared.

Following the arrest, his legal defence team issued an announcement saying that in March 2022, the Court of Appeals in Athens rejected the Romanian authorities’ request for the extradition of Beny Steinmetz to Romania, Steinmetz’s side maintains. The decision was based on the violation of Beny Steinmetz’s right to a fair trial in Romania and the real risk of experiencing discriminatory, inhuman, and degrading treatment if extradited. This decision by the Greek judiciary led to the annulment of the European Arrest Warrant, it notes.

Additionally, for the same reasons, Italian authorities evaluated the warrant and concluded that it could not be executed in Italy.

It is worth noting that in the past, the announcement continues, Interpol had cancelled a Red Notice, thereby revoking the International Arrest Warrant for Beny Steinmetz issued at Romania’s request. Interpol identified numerous violations of Human Rights and a breach of Beny Steinmetz’s fundamental right to a fair trial. In its report, Interpol then noted that the prosecution of Beny Steinmetz in Romania was politically motivated, the businessman’s side stresses.

“Beny Steinmetz welcomes the opportunity to be vindicated in one more European State, against Romania, a country infamous for its disrespect to human rights,” Steinmetz’s spokesperson said in the announcement.

“Simultaneously, he is confident that justice will prevail in Cyprus, once again demonstrating that the European Rule of Law is far more powerful and victorious against undemocratic practices, such as those of the Romanian authorities,” the announcement concludes.

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