Israel's Corruption Probe Into Lev Leviev’s Diamond Empire Stalls

No one has been called in for questioning since the death of an employee, while both the police and Leviev are refusing to compromise, sources say

FILE Photo: Lev Leviev and his wife Olga outside the High Court in London, May 23, 2012.
Lucy Young / REX / Shutterstock

No one at Lev Leviev’s company LLD has been called in for questioning after an employee fell to her death when the money laundering and fraud investigation into the mogul’s diamond businesses became public in November.

Sources at the Israel Diamond Exchange also say that negotiations to bring Leviev to Israel for questioning have been at an impasse for weeks, though the police deny that the investigation is at an impasse.

Leviev is suspected of heading an empire that smuggled hundreds of millions of shekels in diamonds to Israel over at least 16 years. The police suspect he sought to evade restrictions on exporting diamonds from other countries, especially Russia.

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He has been in that country since the investigation became public.

Both Leviev and the police are refusing to negotiate on their stances.

Leviev is reportedly willing to come to Israel only if he is granted comfortable interrogation terms and is permitted to leave the country. The state has refused, though it’s uncertain whether it will seek to have him expedited.

Mazal Hadadi fell from the 10th floor of a building in Israel’s diamond district near Tel Aviv days after being questioned by the police.

An hour after her death, the company released a statement saying that the police had caused her death by improperly pressuring her during her questioning.

It later emerged that the company’s main claim regarding Hadadi was wrong.

The company had said that Hadadi had finished work and was already at the train station when police investigators called her and told her to return to the office, and that she came back and jumped to her death shortly afterward. The police deny that they called her, and it’s unknown who called her back to the office.