Woman's Suicide Tied to Diamond-smuggling Probe

An unnamed woman is said to have jumped to her death following police questioning over a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years

Israeli-Russian businessman Lev Leviev, who is currently accused of being at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years.
Ofer Vaknin

An unnamed employee of Lev Leviev’s company LLD jumped to her death Tuesday, reportedly after she was questioned in connection to an investigation of alleged diamond-smuggling by Leviev family members and employees.

An LLD spokesman confirmed the death and said it came shortly after the woman was questioned by police as a possible suspect. The company linked the tragedy to police practices in the probe.

“We received with deep shock and sorrow the announcement of the loss of the company employee. We will take every step in our power to aid in the investigation of her death and to put an end to the unfortunate phenomenon of interrogees’ rights being trampled on, causing irreversible damage in order to create media headlines,” LLD said.

An Israel Police spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny whether the suicide occurred after questioning and declined to comment on the accusation that investigators used excessive pressure.

The police are investigating suspicions that the Leviev Group systematically smuggled diamonds over a period of at least 16 years. The value of the stones smuggled in the past eight years alone was put at 300 million shekels ($80.4 million). Eight people, including Leviev’s son Zvulun, have been arrested in connection with the case, but the woman who took her life Tuesday was not believed to be among them.