‘King of Diamonds’ is Central Subject in Smuggling Scheme

November 5, 2018 - Israel

On the date listed above, the son and brother of billionaire diamond tycoon Lev Leviev, along with four senior executives of Leviev’s company, were arrested in connection to an international diamond smuggling scheme.

The investigation commenced towards the end of March 2018. At that time, an employee of one of Leviev’s companies was arrested for smuggling diamonds into Israel. He was stopped at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport where he was in possession of a diamond worth $270,000. During a raid on the subjects home, police found hundreds of diamond-related shipping certificates. This finding provided evidence of a direct connection to Leviev’s businesses. Following the discovery of incriminating evidence, the employee became a witness for the state. Authorities contend that the men arrested were involved in smuggling $81 million worth of diamonds into Israel. Police and tax officials believe that Leviev played a role in the smuggling operation. A source close to the investigation has described Leviev as a “central suspect.” They have also said Leviev would be under arrest if he was in Israel.

Leviev is currently in Russia. Israeli law enforcement officials would like to question Leviev. Leviev has refused to return to Israel. Leviev’s company issued the following statement: “The company knows nothing of the events reported in the media. Mr. Leviev and the companies he owns operate according to the appropriate norms, and in compliance with the law. We hope that the matter will quickly be clarified and that the suspicions will turn out to be baseless.”

The six arrested men include Lev Leviev’s son Zvulun and Lev’s brother Moshe Leviev; as well as the four senior executives of Lev Leviev’s company; Reuven Shmuelov, Asher Yechieli, Hananya Issacharov, and Yehuda Asor.

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