Suspected Head of Diamond-smuggling Ring 'Had His Son Delete Damning Emails,’ Police Say

The investigation into Lev Leviev's company LLD began in March, when two diamond smugglers were arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The questioning of the two led investigators to their employer

Lev Leviev, Bnei Brak, March 15, 2011
Ofer Vaknin

Lev Leviev instructed his son Zevulon Leviev to delete emails that could incriminate him, police and tax officials told a court at the son’s detention hearing Tuesday.

Leviev’s companies are allegedly at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years.

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Zevulon was freed to house arrest, as was Reuven Shmuelov, another employee of Leviev’s company LLD, after posting bond of tens of thousands of shekels.

“There has been a significant development in the investigation; we discovered instructions by the father to destroy evidence, and [Zevulon Leviev] carried this out,” Tax Authority representative Ofir Hayut said at the hearing, adding that this included emails.

LLD asked the court Wednesday to release bank accounts that were frozen around 10 days ago. The accounts, two at Israel Discount Bank and two at Union Bank of Israel, are used for company operations. LLD said it did not seek access to the money in the accounts, only to be able to continue doing business.

Rishon Letzion District Court Judge Guy Avnon noted at Tuesday’s detention hearing that the government was investing significant efforts in the investigation, and that the investigation team included an impressive 20 or so members from both the police and the Israel Tax Authority.

He noted that there was still a chance that someone could try to obstruct the investigation, but stated that this did not justify keeping the two men under arrest.

The investigation into LLD began in March, when two diamond smugglers were arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The questioning of the two led investigators to their employer, a person with a diamond-smuggling business who turned state’s witness. The state’s witness told investigators that he worked for Leviev’s LLD.

Nine people have been arrested in the affair, all of them connected to the Leviev group.

Leviev himself has been in Russia since the investigation became public a week ago.