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Mining Company Called Out for Environmental Abuse

The high court of Sierra Leone has granted an interim freezing order on the assets of Octea, a subsidiary of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources in a lawsuit over alleged environmental damage around Octea’s diamond mine. The lawyer for the plaintiffs had requested a freezing order, saying there was a “clear and present risk” the defendants could expatriate funds to avoid having to pay out if the court rules against them. The lawsuit against Octea subsidiary Koidu, filed in March last year by 73 plaintiffs living around the mine, says they have suffered respiratory infections and headaches due to the mine, and seek $288m in damages. Octea will appeal the judgment on Thursday, lawyers for the plaintiffs said.