Israel Police of Lahav 433, the Major Crimes Unit, working with agents of the Tax Authority and Customs agents, arrested six suspects on Monday morning, 27 Marcheshvan, believed involved in the smuggling of diamonds to avoid paying the relevant taxes.
Russian-Israeli diamond billionaire and philanthropist Lev Leviev’s family are among those arrested. Leviev’s son and brother were among the six suspects.
Police said in a statement that the suspects “conspired, planned, and operated for a number of years smuggling diamonds into the State of Israel worth hundreds of millions of shekels in violation of the law and without reporting to the competent authorities.”
The investigation continues, and additional arrests are planned both in Israel and abroad. There is a gag order in place prohibiting the release of additional information regarding the case.
Born in then-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, Leviev moved to Israel at age 15 and currently lives in London. He is a major supporter of many Jewish causes, including Chabad-Lubavitch.
Israeli law enforcement officials say they want to question Lev Leviev. Haaretz reports that Leviev said he may return to Israel voluntarily for questioning.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)