Billionaire Steinmetz sued OCCRP and RISE Project Romania and demanded the deletion and censorship of the investigations about him

24 apr., 2023

Billionaire Benyamin Steinmetz is asking in court for the deletion of all investigations published by OCCRP and RISE Project and wants the journalists to be prohibited from publishing any other articles that refer to him in the future.

Steinmetz requests the deletion of all articles published on the RISE Project and OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) platforms – the international organization of investigative journalists to which both RISE and are affiliated. At the same time, the businessman requests in court that the two platforms should be prohibited from publishing journalistic investigations about him. The request for the court was made „without summoning the parties.” Beny Steinmetz was sentenced to five years in prison in Romania and charged with giving bribes in Switzerland, where he has been waiting for a court verdict.

RISE Project announces on its Facebook page what the businessman’s lawyer wrote in the summons request issued in court: „Order, (…) without citing the parties, the immediate prohibition of Radu Paul, journalist, and the online publications/organizations Organized and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Rise Project Romania from publishing any article that refers to my name, (…) and the download/cancellation/deletion of the articles about me from the platform of the two publications (…) until the final resolution of the action in question.”

The first date of trial is scheduled for March 8.

In 2020, Beny Steinmetz, involved in several mining businesses, including the Roșia Montană project, was definitively sentenced by the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice to five years in prison for forming an organized criminal group. A panel of judges found that Steinmetz had financed the fraudulent return of dozens of hectares of land in Bucharest and Snagov. The properties were claimed back by Prince Paul, grandson of King Carol II.

In December 2021, Steinmetz was detained at Athens airport because an arrest warrant had been issued in Romania in his name. He was released on bail and after that, the Greek judges rejected the extradition request issued by the Romanian authorities. The billionaire is still on the fugitives list in Romania. Later, he sued the Romania at the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR), challenging his sentence.

The businessman also issued an appeal against a sentence issued in Switzerland, where he has been awaiting the verdict in a complex corruption case in which he had been accused of giving bribes.

  • You can find the details in this case here

RISE Project investigations featuring Steinmetz:

photo source: Daniel Balint-Kurti/OCCRP.ORG

Despre autor: Iulia Stanoiu

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Iulia Stănoiu este jurnalist de investigații al CONTEXT. Înainte, a făcut parte, timp de șapte ani, din echipa radioului din orașul natal, ca prezentator și reporter și a activat vreme de patru ani în presa scrisă. În 2023, a primit Premiul I la Gala Superscrieri, la categoria Debut Jurnalistic, pentru seria de investigații “Președinte de județ”. Iulia face parte din proiectul Rețeaua Minciunilor (Firehose of Falsehood) – o echipă de jurnaliști de investigație din 13 țări din Europa Centrală și de Est, afiliată OCCRP, care investighează rețelele care diseminează online dezinformarea, propaganda pro-rusă și conspirațiile. Iulia a contribuit și la investigația internațională Shadow Diplomats, coordonată de International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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