November 5, 2018 / 4:50 PM / 15 days ago

Israeli authorities arrest six in suspected diamond smuggling scheme

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Six people were arrested in Israel on Monday on suspicion of helping to smuggle about 300 million shekels’ (£62.3 million) worth of diamonds into the country since 2010.

The case focuses on the diamond company LLD, which is owned by billionaire dealer Lev Leviev, according to court documents. The suspects were remanded in custody until Sunday and their identities placed under a gag order.

Israel is a world centre for diamond cutting and polishing, with one of the biggest exchanges in the world.

Israel’s tax authority and police said they suspected each of the six of a role in a conspiracy to smuggle the diamonds.

Officials at LLD were not reachable for immediate comment.

“The investigating units intend to carry out more arrests of suspects in Israel and abroad,” police said in a statement.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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