Sources involved in the ongoing diamond smuggling investigation say negotiations are being held with Lev Leviev for an arrangement that will allow him to come to Israel for the purpose of the investigation. The aim is to avoid a difficult and long process of applying for Levi's letter to Moscow, where he currently lives. However, the demands made by Levi's are currently unacceptable to the researchers.
A source familiar with the investigation told Globes that Leviev is seeking a state enterprise that he will not be arrested in return for coming to Israel. Israeli police did not agree with this key condition, but contacts between the parties are still occurring.
Leviev is a leading suspect in an investigation into the diamond industry, which includes suspected diamonds for smuggling from a ring from Russia to Israel. The ring is allegedly based on the company LLD owned by Leviev and members of his family.
Leviev had recently lived in London, but moved to Russia, an area whose extradition relations with Israel were significantly less developed than those between Israel and the United Kingdom. Investigators say the move is designed to halt the investigation, or at least make it harder, but Leviev denies he knew about the investigation. In any case, Leviev is not in Israel for several months and shows no sign of any intention to come here to answer questions from the investigators. The international department of the State Prosecutor's Office, therefore, began to monitor the co-operation measures between Israel and Russia in order to touch Leviyev in Moscow. However, it is clear to all involved parties that this will not be a simple question – for that purpose, the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is connected with Leviev, is necessary.
Levi's controversy began with the arrest of his relatives, including his son, as well as DLU employees. The arrests were part of an affair called the "Black Diamond", which includes financial transactions worth a total of 300 million NIS. The suspects in the affair, including the son of Lev Levyev, Zvyulun Leviev and another relative, were arrested in several groups, but all were released on bail and all the restrictions imposed on them had expired, other than a ban on foreign trips. Some of the suspects, employed in the LLD, were interrogated with caution, but were not arrested, including an employee who died today. The news of her death overshadowed all the other details of the investigation.
Leviev is suspected of leading a criminal hierarchy. When the investigation was publicly announced, a source of investigation told the Globe that was in Israel, Leviev would have been arrested with other suspects. The researchers suspect that corruption in the company has reached its voice, but Leviev can argue and, meanwhile, through several emissaries, claims that he is not familiar with the affair and the suspicions, and has never been involved in any crime.
Investigators have already received and executed orders in Israel to seize the property of Lev Leviev in Israel, including a warrant for the house he owns in Savioon. It was also announced that the state intends to continue the letter to Levayev abroad, and perhaps later to initiate extradition proceedings in Israel if the suspicions are confirmed. Levi's way to the hearing may be shorter, however, if he agrees to come to Israel for interrogation. What the state will promise him in exchange is still unclear.
Posted by Globes, Israel Business News – en.globes.co.il – on November 21, 2018
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