Zvulun Leviev, son of Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev, and his brother Moshe Leviev were among the six suspects who were arrested on Monday for smuggling diamonds to Israel worth NIS 300 million. The police want the gem mogul himself for questioning on suspicion of involvement in diamond smuggling but he currently lives in Moscow.
Zvulun Leviev worked at Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD) for 13 years, including four years as the company’s CEO.
Four other suspects are Reuven Shmuelov, CEO of the LLD diamond corporation controlled by Lev Leviev; Asher Yechieli, a former LLD official who left the company in 2013; Hanania Issachar, a former LLD employee, and Yehuda Asor, who accused of serving as a courier and smuggling diamonds into Israel.
The joint investigative team of the police and the Tax Authority attributes the offenses of conspiracy to crime or misdemeanor, the smuggling of goods by means of imports and exports, the omission of income, the issuance of false invoices and false registration of corporate documents.
The investigation began in March and has been conducted in recent months under a sweeping gag order. This was after the Jerusalem Customs and VAT Unit had arrested a man at Ben-Gurion Airport on suspicion of smuggling diamonds on his body.
In the course of his investigation, and after the national unit for serious and international crime (JIU) and investigators of the Yahalom unit joined the investigation, an agreement was signed with a former employee of Leviev’s diamond business.
According to the state witness, he and others served as couriers who smuggled diamonds from Israel between 2010 and 2018 for LLD. According to the information he provided, and additional evidence allegedly possessed by the investigation team, the diamonds originating at the LLD plant in Russia were brought into Israel without being reported to customs at Ben-Gurion International Airport, so that they could be sold in Israel and avoided paying income tax.
It should be noted that according to the method used in Israel, diamantaires pay taxes out of an income cycle rather than a diamond sold. In order for the Tax Authority to be able to ensure that revenue reports are reasonable, they are supposed to declare, inter alia, the introduction of diamonds into Israel. This is so that the tax authority will be able to compare the diamond inventory with reported revenues. When a diamond is brought into Israel and not reported, it can help the diamond dealer report lower revenues and avoid paying taxes.
The Tax and Police Authority seized tens of millions of shekels in assets, owned by businessman Lev Leviev. Among other things, a warning notice was posted on the private villa that Leviev built in recent years in Savyon. Assets belonging to the LLD company controlled by Leviev, including cash and diamonds found in the search yesterday, were seized at the company’s offices.