Israeli police arrest associate of tycoon in bribery case

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say they have arrested a top associate of a prominent billionaire businessman in connection with an international investigation into suspected bribery of an official in Guinea.

Police say they apprehended Asher Avidan on Monday. He is a former official in Israel's Foreign Ministry and heads mining operations for businessman Beny Steinmetz's company BSGR. Steinmetz, an Israeli-born businessman and global player in the diamond-mining industry, was arrested in Israel on Sunday.

Israeli media reported Steinmetz is suspected of bribing the former leader of Guinea and his wife for rights to mine at the Simandou range, one of the world's largest sources of iron ore. Israeli police would not comment on the specific bribery claim, but said the men are suspected of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes.

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