Family members of diamond tycoon and real estate developer Lev Leviev were arrested in Israel last week on charges of smuggling gemstones into the country, Jerusalem Post reported.
Leviev’s son and brother were booked along with a former employee of Leviev’s Russian diamond manufacturing operation, according to the publication. The unnamed employee stands accused of transporting diamonds from Russia into Israel in a suitcase.
“Mr. Leviev and the companies under his control act in accordance with the proper norms while adhering to the law,” a spokesperson for Leviev’s company, LLD, told the Jerusalem Post. “We hope that the matter will soon be clarified and the suspicions will prove to be baseless.”
Leviev, who was born in Uzbekistan but moved to Israel and ultimately Great Britain, is widely considered one of the world’s most influential diamond traders. His real estate development outfit Africa Israel made a name for itself in New York as a condominium builder in the 2000s, but sold off most of its holdings in the wake of the global financial crisis.