Press relations agency FTI Consulting and Lord Mark Malloch Brown will defend themselves “vigorously” against claims including defamation and breach of contract made by Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR), a spokesman for the agency told Steel First on Thursday April 11.
BSGR, the mining arm of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s business interests, said on Thursday that it had started legal proceedings against USA-based FTI and the agency’s former chairman, Lord Malloch Brown, who is also a former UN deputy secretary general.
FTI said that it had received news of BSGR’s claims against it from a journalist on Thursday morning.
“Once served on us, we intend to defend this claim vigorously,” an FTI spokesman said.
A spokesman for BSGR said that the mining company served the claim to FTI and Lord Malloch Brown’s lawyers before releasing details to the press.
Guernsey-incorporated BSGR has alleged that UK peer Lord Malloch Brown passed on confidential information about BSGR to billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros.
Soros acts as an adviser to Guinean president Alpha Condé.
BSGR is also in the midst of a dispute with the Guinean government over its licence for blocks 1 and 2 of Simandou, one of the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposits.
Guinea is reviewing BSGR’s licence as part of sweeping mining reforms instituted by Condé, the country’s first democratically elected leader, to stamp out corruption in the mining sector.
The impoverished West African nation revealed its revamped mining code on April 8, cutting taxes and royalties in a bid to make the country more friendly to investors.
BSGR said in March that it intended to pursue legal action to defend its claim to its mining interests in Guinea.