Israel’s “Diamond King” Lev Leviev Accused of Stealing Smuggling Biz 20 Years Ago


Israeli Police have rejected a list of demands presented by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev in exchange for his cooperation in an investigation over a massive diamond smuggling scheme involving his company, LLD, Channel 2 News reported Saturday night.

Channel 2 reported one day earlier that a document presented by his lawyers to police stated that he would come to Israel on the condition that after his questioning he be allowed to return to Russia, where he currently resides, and will return to Israel if needed, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“A source in the police told Channel 2 News on Saturday: “Leviev will be investigated like every other suspect, in accordance solely with the needs of the investigation with no prior arrangement. We will not promise that he can leave Israel after his questioning,” the Post’s coverage continued. “The Uzbek SSR-born Israeli tycoon moved to Russia recently from London, and reportedly fears that police will immediately arrest him if he comes to Israel for questioning.”

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz is reporting that during the first hearing in which authorities requested the extension of the remand of the suspects in the case of Lev Leviev’s LLD diamond firm, earlier this month, “police Supt. Gal Chesner told the court that according to the evidence, LLD has systematically engaged in smuggling diamonds to Israel since 2002. One can presume, cautiously, that this statement is based on the testimony of the individual who has turned state’s evidence in the affair, whose name is protected by a gag order.”

Leviev, of course, is an Israeli businessman, philanthropist and investor, of Uzbek Bukhari Jewish background, Known as the “King of Diamonds,” his net worth is estimated at more than $1.1 billion. He has been a major philanthropist for Hasidic Jewish causes in Eastern Europe and Israel.

Leviev made his name undercutting the DeBeers diamond cartel, striking his own deals with diamond-producing countries like Russia and Angola, according to Forbes. He is also the controlling shareholder of Africa Israel Investments, a real estate and construction company listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Leviev’s company opened the doors to its first flagship boutique on London’s Old Bond Street in May 2006. Since then, it has expanded globally with locations in New York and Dubai, emerging as a tour de force in the world of high-end jewelry. As one of the largest diamond manufacturers in the world and one of the largest privately held cutter and polisher of diamonds, the firm has exclusive access to some of the world’s most unique stones and offers the industry’s most extraordinary assortment of large, rare and colored diamonds.