Businessman Arrested as Part of Beny Steinmetz Probe Named as Shimon Menachem

Menachem, formerly of Scorpio BSG Ltd, was arrested Thursday at Ben-Gurion Airport

Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz waits at a Rishon Letzion courtroom following his arrest on August 14, 2017.
Ilan Assayag

Businessman Shimon Menahem, the former head of the Scorpio real estate division of Scorpio BSG Ltd., has been identified as the business executive who was arrested upon arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Thursday. He was then released to five days of house arrest on Friday.

Scorpio, a real estate development company, is part of the business empire of Beny Steinmetz, who is facing a criminal investigation in Israel. 

Steinmetz and another associate, strategic consultant Tal Silberstein, are suspected of bribing a foreign official, forging documents, engaging in corporate fraud and breach of trust, and money laundering. They were arrested the week before last and were later released to two weeks of house arrest. Shimon Menahem, a former professional soccer player, is married to Shelly Steinmetz, Beny Steinmetz’s niece.

In April, the New York Times reported that Raz Steinmetz – Beny Steinmetz’s nephew -- is a partner in the Kushner Companies, the family real estate firm that had been run by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, until Kushner was appointed senior adviser to the president. There are no known business ties today between Raz Steinmetz and Beny Steinmetz.

In 2008, Shimon Menahem earned record compensation at Scorpio of 72.9 million shekels ($20.3 million at current exchange rates) in share options that he converted to company stock. Scorpio was active in Eastern Europe's real estate sector, particularly Romania and Russia. Menahem was also reportedly involved in the purchase of a 67 percent stake in Greece's largest real estate investment fund.