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Explosive device found at New York home of billionaire George Soros

  • Soros is a target of a hostile media campaign by the nationalist government in his native Hungary
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 2:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2018, 2:29pm

An explosive device was found in a postbox at the New York residence of George Soros, the liberal philanthropist and target of far-right, nationalist groups, according to authorities.

The Bedford Police Department said a suspicious package was discovered Monday afternoon by an “employee of the residence”.

Police didn’t specify who owned the home, but town records show that it is co-owned by Soros Fund Management LLC, a family office operated by Soros.

Inside the package was what appeared to be an explosive device, police said. The employee placed the material in a wooded area and notified authorities.

Authorities in Bedford – which includes the hamlet of Katonah, where the residence is located – said the case has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The Bureau’s New York office said in a tweet late Monday that it was conducting an investigation, and that there was no threat to public safety.

The Open Society Foundations, the philanthropic organisation run by Soros, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The Times of Israel reported that Soros, a billionaire hedge fund manager and prominent donor to Democratic and other causes, was not home at the time.

The 88-year-old Holocaust survivor has funnelled much of his fortune into liberal projects around the world, including in his native Hungary, which has taken an illiberal, nationalist turn under Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

After he won re-election in April, Orban wasted no time in pushing a “Stop Soros” bill designed to crack down on non-governmental organisations, think tanks and other liberal institutions. Justified in the name of deterring illegal immigration, it was passed in June.

The Hungarian government’s attack on Soros, which relies on anti-Semitic tropes, has fed into a conspiracy theory that casts the Jewish philanthropist as the director of a global cabal intent on flooding the West with migrants and undermining national sovereignty.

Soros has become the arch-rival invoked by autocrats and far-right activists around the world.

US President Donald Trump bought into the conspiracy theory this month when he tweeted that protesters opposing the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court were “paid for by Soros and others”.

It was a claim also made by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and by Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump.

Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, retweeted a message calling Soros the “anti-Christ”.