Six people were arrested Monday on suspicion of smuggling diamonds over years. Following a joint police and customs investigation, the six are suspected of conspiring to sneak diamonds, worth hundreds of millions of shekels in total, into Israel.
Among the suspects are the son and brother of an Israeli business mogul. The alleged smuggling ring is linked to the businessman’s activities.
The suspected crimes include money-laundering, tax dodging, conspiring to commit a crime, forging documentation, and fraud.
A state’s witness is aiding the police in the investigation, the details of which are under a gag order.
The investigation began a few months ago when the Customs officers at Ben-Gurion International Airport by Tel Aviv caught a man well-known in Israeli business circles, who is associated with the business baron’s business group, red-handed trying to smuggle diamonds into Israel. The diamonds were worth hundreds of thousands of shekels. The Customs investigation discovered that the stones had been concealed within the man’s body.
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Following that, an undercover probe began, which found evidence of methodical diamond smuggling into Israel. The traffic in the stones, which is suspected to have been conducted entirely within the business baron’s group, was concealed from Israeli tax authorities. The businessman in question is not in Israel at present, and is not under arrest.
For the time being at least, the investigation is not touching on any other potential aspects in that business group, nor is it looking at complaints – made to various authorities in Israel and in other countries – against that group.
Eyal Besserglick, co-representative of one suspect (who is not kin to the businessman), commented that he is confident the suspicions will be disproved, and stated that his client has nothing to do with the whole affair. "He worked with the businessman more than six years ago and there is no evidence linking him to criminal activity," Besserglick said.