The public prosecutor and the billionaire Lev Leviev have reached an agreement to negotiate a sentence in the case of the “black diamond”. The plea agreement is due to be signed today and an indictment will be filed against LLD Diamonds Ltd., a company owned by Leviev, and its CEO Reuven Shmuelov. The case against the other suspects, led by Leviev himself and his son Zvulun, will be closed.
Leviev flew to Israel on Tuesday evening and, by appointment, was met at the airport by officers from the police’s Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit, who informed him he was being held for examination.
The “Black Diamond” case is a case that has been investigated by the Israel Police and the Israel Tax Authority since 2018. The allegation is that LLD smuggled diamonds worth huge in Israel.
Leviev has lived abroad for fear of being arrested in Israel. Negotiations have taken place over the years with his lawyers, Eitan Maoz and Giora Aderet, to appear for questioning, but the Attorney General’s office has refused, as a matter of principle, to commit in advance not to not be arrested. when he landed in Israel. For this reason, Leviev refrained from visiting Israel, even for close family events.
It now appears that the state’s attorney’s office has realized that there is no point in continuing to wait for Leviev to show up without preconditions and that it is better, in the particular circumstances of the case, to sign a plea agreement that would leave Leviev’s name on the indictment.
According to information received by “Globes”, LLD will pay a fine of several million shekels as part of the plea bargain. The state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on the merits of the case and only said in response to the report, “Following reporters’ requests, we would like to clarify that Mr. Leviev informed the authorities in charge of the application of the date of his return to Israel, and that before his return, it was made clear to him that the question of his arrest or the conditions of his release would be examined by the police depending on the progress of the investigation. “
In 2018, when the investigation was opened, Superintendent Gal Chesner, representing the Israel Police, told a hearing to extend the suspects’ pretrial detention: “LLD behaves like a criminal organization, using diamond transporters who smuggle diamonds like the worst drug dealers. the company tampers with and destroys evidence.”
Diamonds worth around NIS 300 million were allegedly smuggled from Russia to Israel between 2002 and 2018. It now looks like the case, which started with much fanfare, is ending as many cases of this type have ended in the past, a little less resonant.
The case began in 2018, when customs officers at Ben Gurion Airport arrested a person they identified as suspected of trying to smuggle goods into Israel without reporting it. However, they hadn’t foreseen the chain of events that would be triggered by his control. During the search of his belongings and his body, it was discovered that he had concealed on his body a precious diamond, worth approximately NIS 1 million, which he was suspected of having made. smuggled from one of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Following this, the Israel Police and the Israel Tax Authority formed a joint investigation team.
In November 2018, after six months of covert diamond industry investigations, tracking suspects leaving and entering Israel, and investigators traveling abroad to track diamond dealers and the diamonds they concealed, investigators arrested suspects in the case, accused of being involved in the diamond. smuggling, money laundering, customs offences, income tax offences, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraudulent receipt, false accounting and other offences.
A tragic event took place during the investigation when Mazal Hadadi, accountant for LLD Diamonds, jumped from the 10th floor of an office building next to the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan. It turned out that she was not suspected of any criminal activity.
A statement on behalf of Lev Leviev said: “Mr. Leviev came to the headquarters of Lahav 433 and, under questioning, conveyed his consistent version of events that he was at no time involved in the smuggling of diamonds. Mr. Leviev will return to his family tonight and return to Israel in the coming weeks.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – September 22, 2022.
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