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Mining magnate Steinmetz held in Cyprus on Romanian warrant - spokesperson

Israeli billionaire Steinmetz leaves courthouse in Geneva

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz has been detained in Cyprus on a Romanian-issued arrest warrant, a spokesperson for Steinmetz said on Sunday.

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.

He is expected to appear before a Cypriot court later this week. A magistrate in the town of Larnaca on Sept 1. ordered his detention pending translation of the warrant, judicial sources said. The order had no bearing on the merits of the case.

Steinmetz was detained on Thursday "during his arrival at Larnaca airport, due to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the Romanian authorities, which has already been cancelled in various European countries, among them Greece and Italy," his spokesperson said.

Cyprus police had no immediate comment. As a practice, Cypriot authorities do not comment on extradition requests.

Steinmetz is involved in a separate legal battle in Switzerland where he has been found guilty of corruption in a case regarding exploration permits for deposits of iron ore in Guinea.

"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 a statement.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer and Ari Rabinovitch; Additional reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Susan Fenton)